An overview of teacher education review

An overview of the work commissioned to develop teacher education, led jointly by the Department of Education and Department for Employment and Learning.

Studying teacher education

Arising from the Teacher Education in a Climate of Change conference in April 2003, five studies were commissioned jointly by the Department of Education (DE) and the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL).

The studies focused on:

  • demographic trends, the costs of Initial Teacher Education (ITE), and the use of the ITE estate
  • the potential impact of the proposed new curriculum, of e-learning and of the longer-term effects of the post-primary review on teacher education
  • the appropriateness of the teacher competence model including the balance between in-Higher Education Institution (HEI) and in-school training in both Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) and Bachelor of Education (BEd) courses, and the relevance, effectiveness and value for money of the support provided to beginning teachers during early professional development
  • the effects of ITE of existing diversification
  • co-ordination, effectiveness and funding arrangements for the continuing professional development of teachers


All the studies were completed and the reports were submitted to DE and DEL for joint consideration.

Review of the studies

DE and DEL commissioned Douglas Osler, former Chief Inspector of Schools in Scotland, to identify common threads, themes, gaps and areas for development, and set these within the bigger picture of the kind of teacher education we will need for the sort of education system we expect to see in the longer term.

Douglas Osler submitted his report 'Policy Review of Teacher Education in Northern Ireland' to the Departments in June 2005.  

The Teacher Education in a Climate of Change Conference, which took place on 21 and 22 November 2005, gave stakeholders the opportunity to consider and comment on policy options which have been based, not only on the five studies, but also on the overview report prepared by Douglas Osler.


The Policy Framework document, which emanated from the Review, entitled “Teacher Education in a Climate of Change – The Way Forward”, outlines proposals on how the system will deal with the challenges facing teacher education and sets out the respective roles of the various players. The consultation ran from 21 June 2010 to 8 November 2010.

Current position

The Department is currently engaging with educational stakeholders to develop, for consultation, its vision for teacher professional learning through to 2025.

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