Drawing on a mixed-methods study of in-service learning and skills sector (LSS) trainees, comprising beginning- and end-of-year surveys and six longitudinal case studies together with literature on trainees’ development in the LSS, schools and higher education sectors, conceptual and practice development continua are proposed. Conceptions become more multi-dimensional and increasingly link teaching and learning whilst initial concern with the practicalities of teaching is followed by recognition of learners’ needs. Next, greater emphasis is placed on learner autonomy and catering for individuals’ needs and finally assessment and evaluation is used systematically to shape practice. The continua offer an understanding of the subtleties and complexities of trainee development allowing\ud for different starting and end points and accommodating varied work contexts. I argue that this provides a more adequate basis for the development of initial teacher education (ITE) than the prescriptive approach embedded within recent LSS ITE policy reforms
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