Contextual factors such as the competitive educational market and self-managing schools are significant influences on initial teacher education providers, the programmes they offer, and the employment and induction of beginning teachers. In this paper NZEI and PPTA account for their belief that initial teacher education policy development should be a collaborative effort. It is argued that collaboration between the different players in initial teacher education strengthens policy making. These players, we suggest, are professional teacher educators, the New Zealand Teachers Council, other approval bodies, the Ministry of Education and the teacher unions.
Teacher unions are guardians of the profession as a whole, protecting both its status and the conditions under which teachers work. They are grounded in the reality of schools, and can share this knowledge with teacher educators. Teacher unions, as 'unions of professionals', have a part to play in developing initial teacher education policy. Historically, teaching unions have held themselves accountable for high quality public education, and exercise a high degree of responsibility in the way the objectives of their organisations are fulfilled by teachers, realising their values and understandings through principles of unity, social integrity and social justice.
First, we explain briefly our vision of initial teacher education and how we try to honour this in our practice. Secondly, we explain our historical and legal roles and how these are played out in practice. Thirdly, we discuss what we see to be the contributions of the other significant players in policy collaboration.
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