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Each year in England about 6,000 trainee teachers qualify by undertaking an employment-based initial teacher training route (EBITT), where training is mainly school based. Government inspectors have found that trainees on this route are weaker in subject knowledge and subject pedagogic knowledge compared to trainees following the more traditional one year training course (PGCE) of which about a third of course time is University based. EBITT providers are currently seeking to improve the subject knowledge aspect of training. To support this work the TDA have published a model for developing trainees' subject knowledge for teaching and suggest that providers review their provision against the model. In addition EBITT providers must also meet a new requirement that the total training time should be a minimum of 60 days. This new requirement presents a challenge to EBITT providers as most of the subject knowledge enhancement will have to be school-based. This paper seeks to find out:
- how trainee teachers acquire subject and subject pedagogic knowledge while based in a school and
- whether teaching staff in schools have the required subject and subject pedagogic knowledge and skills for this enhanced role.
Data have been collected from trainees, school-based mentors, school-based Initial Teacher Training Coordinators and University assessors over a one year period. Data about the way trainees acquire subject knowledge was interpreted against the TDA model. The study finds that:
- trainees acquire subject and subject pedagogic knowledge in a variety of highly individualistic ways that suggests that the TDA model only partially explains what is happening in practice and
- there is a significant training need to ensure schools are well equipped to deliver high quality subject focussed training.