Scotland's trainee teachers set to get lessons from children

Trainee teachers in Scotland could soon be given lessons by schoolchildren to prepare them for life in the classroom, under proposals being considered by the Education Secretary.

The idea is being examined by John Swinney as part of plans to modernise teacher training at universities, with the aim of giving students a children’s-eye view of learning.

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The proposal is being developed following a special meeting of the Scottish Cabinet a year ago which was attended by representatives from the Children’s Parliament and Youth Parliament.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

A progress report published by the Scottish Government ahead of the next meeting, due to be held in Edinburgh next month, says Mr Swinney is giving serious thought to the idea.

“[The] Deputy First Minister will consider the involvement of children in initial teacher education,” the document states.

“It was suggested that before qualifying as a teacher, children could speak to students giving their views on the role and qualities of a teacher (e.g. firm and fun) – so learning about children as well as how to be an educator.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

It adds that the Scottish Government is discussing “how the voice of pupils can be reflected in teacher education courses with universities” as part of its ongoing review of education governance.

The idea could also influence an ongoing review of the standards that all students have to meet in order to become teachers being led by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).

The body is currently working with the charity Children in Scotland on a “landmark” project which will canvass young people’s opinions about their teachers.

It is hoped that the work, involving a survey of schools and youth groups as well as more detailed consultation with five schools, will give children a voice in teachers’ professional development.

“It makes sense to involve children and young people in supporting and contributing to teacher training,” said Children in Scotland’s chief executive Jackie Brock.

“You wouldn’t expect doctors, nurses, health visitors and social workers to become qualified without significant contact with their patients and clients and without their helping to shape the training courses.

“This proposal would improve the quality of teacher training and we believe the vast majority of teachers would welcome it.”