In this paper, we aim to advance the understanding of the institutional mechanisms that have shaped the teacher education environment in England over the last forty years. Based on the analyses of policy documents and elite interviews rooted in a neo-institutionalist analytical framework, we argue that the changes from a laissez-faire policy in the 1970s to one of strict oversight and accountability are linked to mimesis of a (global) New Public Management paradigm that has been supported by coercive control levers through inspections and prescribed standards. We found that the current environment was forged in three steps involving the government entering the game through certification and accreditation, shifting the normative voice of teachers by furthering the academic-practitioner split, and defining core landmarks of the profession through professional standards. Finally, we argue that the institutional changes have brought about a profound re-conceptualisation of the teacher, from scholar to professional craftsperson.
European Journal of Teacher Education