A TEACHER education course at Edge Hill College of Higher Education has been rated “good” by government inspectors.

The secondary Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in History was awarded grade 2 ratings – classed as “good, with no significant weaknesses” – in all five standards-related cells inspected by Ofsted.

The inspection report said the course was well designed and, in particular, praised the use of information and communications technology (ICT) and the provision of filed trips for trainees.

Edge Hill works in partnership with a wide range of schools to deliver the programme, which involves trainees spending several placements in the classroom. In school the trainees are supported by mentors and visiting Edge Hill tutors.

The inspection report said the course provided “a good balance of history topics, knowledge, skills and understanding with appropriate attention to the ways in which history contributes to citizenship and the development of literacy and numeracy”.

It praised the “comprehensive range of resources” available to students, noting that Edge Hill had invested significantly in information and communications technology (ICT).

The use of ICT in the training was highlighted. The report said WebCT – a secure online learning environment – enabled students to contribute and share ideas, good practice and development and was an effective resource for communication.

It said trainees were shown how to make effective use of ICT in their teaching, including video recordings, digital photography and a range of ICT based activities such as databases, spreadsheets and the internet.

The report went on to say: “The tutors draw well on trainees’ experience in schools, made more effective by the fact that the tutors, who visit the trainees in school regularly, know what they are teaching and what they are achieving.

“Education visits and field trips are used to stimulate the development of trainees’ subject knowledge. They provide useful experience of organising visits and of identifying appropriate learning outcomes.”

The report said a strong feature of the school-based training was “the emphasis on pupil motivation and on making history interesting and enjoyable”.

The report raised some points for consideration. These included ensuring that all trainees have good opportunities to teach and assess pupils’ work at AS and A Level, helping mentors to write clearer end of placement reports on trainees, encouraging trainees to develop their subject knowledge and become more challenging in their teaching and helping them to employ a wider range of teaching strategies.

Subject leader Ian Phillips said: “We are pleased that Ofsted have recognised the many strengths of the History PGCE programme.

“The emphasis on ICT is particularly welcomed by our partner schools, which appreciate the expertise that our trainees bring into their classrooms.

“Our use of fieldwork is another strength – ours is one of the few programmes of this type that actually takes trainees to the battlefields in France, for example.”