Bracing ourselves: Embracing Policy Changes through a Long-Standing University–Schools Teacher Education Partnership in England

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


We articulate the principles behind our practices as teacher educators for an Initial Teacher Education (ITE) provider in south-west England, working in partnership with local schools. We position them as ‘braces’ that enable us not only to withstand but ‘embrace’ the challenges of the current policy environment, which imposes braces of its own. All ITE providers in England must present their curriculum and teaching plans for approval by the Department for Education, one of many significant changes to ITE required in England over the last decade. Furthermore, for such plans to be approved they must assume a model of schooling based on knowledge acquisition in tension with not only our own motivations, but a broader (global) conversation among teacher educators critical of policy priorities for schooling and professional teacher formation that prioritise success in high stakes tests and international league tables. The braces/principles emerge through articulating our collective understandings of and concerns with the policy braces. Our principles connect to the processes we feel confident are necessary aspects of ‘becoming’ teachers and can hold our Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) together, going forwards. The braces - becoming an informed educator; becoming an ethical actor; becoming a reflective practitioner- have a distinctive form of reflexivity at their heart and should apply to everyone across our partnership: us, as university-based teacher educators; school-based colleagues; and pre-service teachers. We offer our approach, and the braces/principles we have developed, to others also struggling to reconcile their own notions of good teacher education with national policy imperatives.
Original languageEnglish
Article number158
Pages (from-to)158
Number of pages13
JournalEducation Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Feb 2024

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© 2024 by the authors.


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