Published in Teachers and Teaching - theory and practice, this article is co-authored by Professor Joanna McIntyre.
This paper examines how the policy process around Initial Teacher Education (ITE) during the pandemic of 2020 was experienced by the leaders of ITE programmes across England. Education policies,it is argued, are solutions to perceived problems, revealing latent values that drive action. Group interviews with leaders of ITE programmes across the education sector, focused on the lived experience of ITE policy developments during the first wave of the COVID-19 period (March to July 2020). The analysis drew upon three policy drivers derived from an examination of teacher education policy (prior to the pandemic) in four ‘high performing’ English-speaking countries (according to PISA). The three policy drivers: the economy and global competitiveness (the rationale for change); accountability and regulatory framework (the technologies for change); and the core purpose of schooling and teacher professionalism (the values underpinning change); show how the temporary policy shift soon reverted back to previous priorities. Agency and autonomy were experienced by teacher educators which enabled them to exercise expert judgment, but there were also the significant ‘gaps’ in the expertise of policymakers. The research reveals how values influences policy formation, creating divisions within England’s ITE community, and isolating it from international policy trends.
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