The University of Westminster was Highly Commended at the Universities Alliance for Lifelong Learning (UALL) Awards which were held as part of this year’s Annual Conference at Durham University.

The  University’s entry, Creating a Flexible Teacher Education Programme through  Collaboration, was awarded a certificate by UALL Council at a presentation dinner in the Great Hall, Durham Castle as part of the UALL Annual Conference 2013 whose theme was: Who and what are universities for? Local communities, global competitiveness and the part-time student.

The workshop examined the ways that the University of Westminster’s Teacher Education Consortium encourages and supports collaborative work by teacher educators and  staff developers delivering post-compulsory teacher education. They need to be skilled and flexible enough to prepare trainee lecturers to teach in adult and community education, prisons and secure environments, private and work-based training providers as well as further education colleges.

Our innovative support for the induction and mentoring of new and experienced teacher educators, through collaboration, networking and exchange of good practice was praised. The workshop drew on initial findings from Rebecca Eliahoo’s PhD research into the  professional development needs of teacher educators and how these change over time.

Few teacher educators receive formal mentoring or induction to their role. However, the research explores the importance of Universities’ role in providing CPD, induction and networking opportunities – for example, teacher educators stressed the importance of such University support for their competence, status and  credibility within their own colleges.

The Conference attracted over 70 delegates and speakers from a range of HEIs in China, USA, Canada and the UK. There was a wide variety of entries to the UALL Awards, which are now in  their fifth year, and each was assessed on the criteria of “innovation and  creativity, sustainability, impact and transferability”. The Dinner was held in  the Medieval Great Hall of Durham Castle where delegates were welcomed warmly by Vice Chancellor, Professor Christopher Higgins.

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