We are concerned the Government is planning to re-shape the teacher training market in England with potentially devastating consequences to the country’s teacher pipeline at the worst time imaginable.
Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, teachers up and down the country have put themselves second and their pupils first, making schools as safe as possible, designing and delivering superb remote learning, and providing face-to-face teaching whenever possible. The teaching profession’s response to the pandemic has been extraordinary.
Some 30,000 teachers begin their teaching journey through Initial Teacher Education (ITE) partnerships each year. These partnerships produce first-class, committed teachers who provide our country’s children and young people with the best start in life and the greatest opportunities to succeed after school.
The Department for Education’s survey of NQTs showed more than 80% of new teachers regularly rated their ITE highly. Ofsted agrees, judging every single teacher education partnership as Good or Outstanding. The Government has often stated how proud it is that there are now 1.9 million more children in Good or Outstanding schools compared with 2010 – our teachers and their ITE providers deserve a great deal of credit for this.
It is absolutely right that there is regular review of all publicly funded systems, and there are few systems more important than that by which we educate new teachers.
That is why we support the fact that ITE programmes are properly regulated and held to account for the quality of ITE they provide. This includes, under the new Ofsted inspection framework, a requirement that the new Core Content Framework (CCF) is embedded within ITE programmes. Evidence on how well ITE providers have introduced the CCF will begin to be available when ITE inspections begin again this year.
However, the market review of ITE currently being undertaken presents huge risks. There should be a proper call for evidence and it should be conducted within a reasonable timescale, when the sector is moving beyond the pandemic and when Ofsted has returned to inspection and has assessed how well or otherwise ITE providers are implementing the CCF.
We are especially concerned that the review could propose a system under which a small number of selected organisations offer short-term contracts to ITE providers. Under these conditions, many ITE providers might decide the teacher training market is unviable and will withdraw. Indeed, more than 30 providers have already signalled that they may pull out, taking with them some 10,000 teacher training places a year. The new Institute of Teaching, which will provide 1,000 places, will not be able to fill this void, leading to a catastrophic shortage of teachers.
We need the Government to reassess and take the decision to undertake an evidence-based review in good time that enhances and improves our teacher training system, not diminishes it; and leads to a pipeline of even more great teachers, not fewer.
We are here to celebrate and protect this vital part of the school system: the ITE partnerships educating the very people who learn to thrive and become brilliant teachers themselves, shaping the future for children and young people.
Our supporters who get involved here agree the strength and quality of ITE partnerships across England are having an indelible impact on teachers, children and society – and that we cannot have a rushed market review that puts this all at risk. Join #TeachBest in celebrating just how much excellence in ITE leads to success in the classroom.
The ITE sector
The ITE sector works as a cohesive unit, designing a range of programmes around a shared core framework and working together to deliver excellence. Universities, for example, are involved in 80% of ITE, through their own undergraduate and Master’s programmes, as well as strategic partnerships and mentoring support with schools, colleges, SCITTs and others.
The development of teaching expertise never stops, with qualified teachers accessing ITE partnerships to build on their knowledge, such as through the world-class CPD provided by Universities engaged in cutting edge research.
This joined-up approach results in the stellar impact ITE partnerships achieve.
ITE during COVID-19
As parents and carers all over the world have grown to appreciate this year, teaching is a profession marked by a high degree of thinking, learning and understanding. The skill, ingenuity and dedication of those who have come through England’s ITE system has been perfectly exemplified by the incredible response to the challenges of COVID-19.
Partnerships did a magnificent job in re-designing ITE programmes and developing innovative and effective remote delivery, introducing virtual school placements and robust systems for recruiting new student teachers onto ITE programmes. They provided invaluable support to partner schools, student teachers and pupils.
NQTs and student teachers in 2020, designated critical workers essential to the country, entered new careers in the midst of very challenging circumstances, ready to support pupils, schools, families and communities. Those finishing their training in 2021 will join them as some of the best NQTs ever, with learned skills and experiences around adaptability, resilience, resourcefulness and remote learning design and delivery that will shape the education sector for generations to come.
To find out more about the potential risks from the market review, click below.
This website has been created by the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET), an independent, professional organisation funded solely by its member institutions, universities, colleges and others providing accredited Higher Education level teacher education.
Our mission is to support the quality, sustainability and professionalism of teacher education through the encouragement of cohesive partnerships and constructive stakeholder engagement based on evidence from UK and international research.