Mark Barrow says the Teaching Council’s new ITE programme requirements are being ‘loaded’ onto providers without any evidence to back their usefulness (May 7).

This is untrue. They are based firmly on evidence, consultation, and partnership with the ITE sector. We worked with an initial teacher education advisory group: a mixture of ITE providers, principals, teachers and early childhood education centre managers were regularly consulted and gave us specialist advice and guidance on the design and implementation of the new requirements.

These new requirements will ensure teacher graduates are better prepared for their first teaching role and help equip them with the skills to learn and adapt their practice to meet future challenges.

As for the suggestion that evidence is lacking, research and consultation into new requirements started in 2016 – that’s two years of evidence finding. We were guided by collaboration with providers and the advisory group and a literature review commissioned to the New Zealand Council of Education Research, among other things. You can read how the requirements were developed, including discussion papers, advice papers, lit review and advisory group discussions, right here.

Mr Barrow claims in particular there is no evidence of the effectiveness of additional practicum time. In fact, the new expectations on practical experience come from the literature review and feedback from the profession which found creating the conditions for a quality practical experience component was extremely important.

We set out that evidence in the policy and we expect providers to design that evidence into their programmes. The literature review also found that “fewer longer practica appear to be more useful than a series of short practica. Practica need to be long enough for genuine relationships to be developed and maintained.” The length of time for practical experience varies across programmes and there isn’t definitive evidence that says how much is enough. However, as students will be working across diverse settings and with diverse learners, learning how to practise, make judgements and relate to parents it makes sense to make sure there is enough time given to do that: hence the increase in minimum practicum time.

It’s important to note that we have also put in place, as part of the new policy, the structure to evaluate, share what we learn and adapt the requirements over the coming years.

The new requirements also further develop the use of te reo Māori in all programmes and build authentic partnerships between schools, centres, kura and local iwi.

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