The use of paired placements and collaborative practice is promoted by many university-school partnerships that train teachers in England. This article reviews the recent literature on the subject and then focuses on some small scale research within initial teacher education in one large university-school partnership. That partnership works with over 250 schools training teachers in secondary schools where pupils are aged 11-18. During 2004-6, trainees, school mentors and university tutors from a range of subjects were surveyed and interviewed to gain an understanding of how paired placements work in practice. Then the research focused on one subject, geography, for an in depth study and in order to develop a model of best practice. Key benefits and issues have been identified from the research findings and guidance on how paired placements can be made to work more effectively has been developed. Though there are undoubted benefits to pupils, trainees, schools and universities it is clear that current practice is not sufficiently understood or developed by all stakeholders. The findings indicate that university partnership management teams must take a greater role in raising the quality of this collaborative work but where it is well understood and the trainees are supported to make use of their situation, then paired placements have a great deal to offer initial teacher education
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