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Partnership (Trevor Mutton)

Partnership is a term frequently referred to in the literature on teacher education and encompasses different notions of collaborative working in a range of different contexts. The partnership most frequently referred to in the TEG bibliography is that between providers of initial teacher education (ITE) and schools, but there is also some focus in the literature on examples of partnerships related to induction both in England and in other parts of the United Kingdom. In addition there have been a number of research partnerships between universities and schools which have served as a vehicle for teachers’ continuing professional learning.

The way in which ITE partnerships function can vary greatly and there exists a proliferation of terms used to represent the various heterarchies and relationships within them. A useful categorisation and analysis of partnership models was, however, developed over a decade ago by researchers from the Modes of Teacher Education (MOTE) project. They concluded that whereas complementary partnerships and collaborative partnerships did exist, the predominant model was one categorised as being ‘HEI-led' .  

Models of partnership (see Brisard et al. 2005 for a systematic literature review) do not, however, remain static and tend to adapt themselves to the changing landscape of teacher education. The introduction of employment based routes into teaching, for example, has seen new challenges in relation to partnership working. Likewise the introduction of Training Schools in England has had an effect on the nature of the partnership, and as schools have increasingly moved towards a model of working with a number of different ITE providers previously established practices become more open to question.

Furthermore, different models of partnership exist across different national contexts within the United Kingdom, with distinctive features in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, reflecting specific local needs and priorities. Initiatives at both national and regional level to develop partnership in ITE, such as the TTA’s National Partnership Programme in England, have not been without criticism. While the latter aimed to develop both quality and the capacity of schools to be involved in ITE, it has been argued that such approaches merely foster a ‘technical rationalist approach to teacher education’ which fail to acknowledge its true complexity.

The roles and responsibilities of those working within ITE partnerships have also been open to scrutiny. While there has also been some focus within the literature on the role of the school-based ITE co-ordinator or professional mentor a predominant focus within the bibliography is on mentors and mentoring, including recent analyses that draw, for example,  on a ‘communities of practice’ model  or on activity theory.



Rhodes, C., Nevill, A., and Allan, J.(2005) How will this help me? evaluating an accredited programme to enhance the early professional development of newly qualified teachers, Journal of In-Service Education, 31(2) pp 337 - 352.

Leat, D., Lofthouse, R., and Taverner, S.(2006) The road taken: professional pathways in innovative curriculum development, Teachers and Teaching, 12(6) pp 657 - 674.

O’Brien, J. and Christie, F.(2008) A role for universities in the induction of teachers? A Scottish case study, Professional Development in Education, 34(2) pp 147-163.]

Furlong, J., Barton, L., Miles, S., Whiting, C. & Whitty, G. (2000)Teacher education in transition – Reforming professionalism? Buckingham: Open University Press.

Brisard, E., Menter, I. & Smith, I. (2005) Models of partnership in programmes of initial teacher education (Edinburgh, General Teaching Council of Scotland)

Brookes, W.(2005) The Graduate Teacher Programme in England: mentor training, quality assurance and the findings of inspection, Journal of In-Service Education, 31(1) pp 43 - 62.

Brooks, V.(2006) A 'quiet revolution'? The impact of Training Schools on initial teacher training partnerships, Journal of Education for Teaching, 32(4) pp 379-394.

Mutton, T. and Butcher, J.(2008) We will take them from anywhere': Schools working within multiple Initial Teacher Training partnerships, Journal of Education for Teaching, 34(1) pp 45-62.

Caul, L. and McWilliams, S.(2002) Accountability in partnership or partnership in accountability: initial teacher education in Northern Ireland, European Journal of Teacher Education, 25(2) pp 187-197.  

Brisard, E., Menter, I., and Smith, I. (2006) Discourses of partnership in initial teacher education in Scotland: current configurations and tensions, European Journal of Teacher Education, 29(1) pp 49-66.

Bassett, P.(2003) Initial Teacher Education and Training: A New Opportunity for Partnership in Wales, Welsh Journal of Education, 12(3) pp 04-12.

Furlong, J., Campbell, A., Howson, J., Lewis, S., and McNamara, O.(2006) Partnership in English Teacher Education: Changing Times, Changing Definitions. Evidence from the TTA National Partnership Project, Scottish Educational Review, 37 (Special Edition: Teacher Education and Professional Development)(n/a) pp 32-45.

Mutton, T. and Butcher, J.(2007) More than managing? The role of the Initial Teacher Training coordinator in schools in England, Teacher Development, 11(3) pp 245 - 261.  

Child, A. J. and Merrill, S. J.(2003) Professional mentors' perceptions of the contribution of school/HEI partnerships to professional development and school improvement, Journal of In-Service Education, 29(2) pp 315 - 324.

Bryan, H. and Carpenter, C.(2008) Mentoring: a practice developed in community, Professional Development in Education, 34(1) pp 47-59.

Edwards, A. and Protheroe, L.(2004) Teaching by proxy: understanding how mentors are positioned in partnerships, Oxford Review of Education, 30(2) pp 183-197.


How to reference this page: Teacher Education Group (2009) The Teacher Education Bibliography. London: TLRP. Online at (accessed )

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