University of Exeter Launches Teacher Training Hubs to Boost Rural Education

In a significant development aimed at addressing teacher recruitment challenges in rural areas, the University of Exeter has announced the opening of new teacher training hubs. This initiative is designed to mitigate the impact of travel and housing costs on teacher training, particularly in the context of the ongoing cost of living crisis and housing shortages in the region.

The University of Exeter's innovative approach involves the establishment of three hubs located strategically in Exeter, High Bickington in North Devon, and Yeovil in Somerset. This marks a departure from the traditional model where primary school Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) training was exclusively conducted on the university's city campus.

Dr. Thomas Ralph, the Head of Initial Teacher Education at the university, emphasised that these hubs are intended to "remove barriers" for prospective students. The geographical challenges and cost of living in the South West have historically made it difficult for schools to attract teachers. In response, the university has redesigned its PGCE courses to be more accessible and locally focused, in line with recent government changes to PGCE course delivery.

The new hubs are set to open in September. This localisation of training is expected to support schools in recruiting high-quality teachers by offering more convenient training locations.

For secondary school PGCE courses, the university has maintained its Exeter delivery location. However, a new flexible structure ensures that trainees only attend campus two days a week during the autumn term, allowing them to spend the remainder of their time closer to their school placements.

This initiative represents a significant step in addressing the unique challenges faced by rural schools in recruiting and training teachers. By bringing training closer to the communities that need it most, the university is not only facilitating access to education careers for more individuals but also directly contributing to the enhancement of educational standards in rural areas.


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