More than half of all teacher training places will be delivered by schools by the end of this Parliament, the education secretary has said.
Michael Gove has also unveiled plans to give trainee teachers financial incentives of up to £5,000 to work in challenging schools.
In a speech to delegates at the National College for School Leadership annual conference, Mr Gove said that more than 15,000 training places could be based in schools by the time of the next General Election.
His plans include a dramatic expansion of Schools Direct, a Department for Education pilot programme which invites Teaching Schools to bid for teacher training places.
It is expected that there will be more than 900 training places via Schools Direct in September and Mr Gove is now opening the scheme up to all schools.
He said: “Those participating will be able to recruit their own trainees and develop their own training programme in partnership with a university. In return for this additional control, the schools will be expected to find a job for the trainee once they finish their training.
“Schools won’t have to be part of a Teaching School alliance to get involved but we envisage that most will – because the advantages of training across a group of schools.”
He added: “As these programmes grow, more and more schools will be able to recruit, train and hire their own teachers; working in partnership with other schools and top quality ITT (initial teacher training) providers to give new teachers the best possible start to their careers.”
Currently, around 30,000 teacher training places are allocated to a network of ITT providers for “qualification-based courses”. Many of these are university courses. Mr Gove said that existing training providers, including universities, that are rated as “outstanding” will be guaranteed their level of places for the next two years. However, others would have to compete for places alongside schools through the expanded Schools Direct.
The minister also unveiled plans to scrap the Graduate Teacher Programme and introduce an “employment-based” branch of Schools Direct from September 2013. This will be available to those who have at least three years’ experience in other careers. The government is to fund 5,000 places on this pathway in 2013/14.
Mr Gove continued: “By the end of this Parliament well over half of all training places will be delivered by schools, whether through direct provision – Teach First, School Direct, or our new employment-based route.
“Most of the rest will be doing PGCE courses in existing providers rated outstanding,” he added.
Teachers and heads this week warned that a combination of practical and theoretical training was essential. Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “Trainee teachers not only need practical training but the time and space to develop and exchange ideas on best practice in education. It is therefore vitally important that graduates continue to have part of their training in universities and colleges.”
Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Practical, hands-on experience is a hugely important part of teacher preparation, and therefore we welcome the commitment to building on existing best practice in school-based training.
“An understanding of subject methodology needs to be a central component. Teaching is a science as well as an art and there is an important body of knowledge about how to teach and to engage young people which all trainees need to have. “All good teacher training will be a blend of both the practical and theoretical.”
Elsewhere, Mr Gove also said that if a Schools Direct trainee spends “the majority of their training in a challenging school” then they will receive an extra 25 per cent in bursary payments. Those starting in September will get up to £5,000 extra.