Coronavirus: Special QTS arrangements do not give trainees 'free pass'

Trainee teachers must not receive a “free pass” under the new system for awarding qualified teacher status, new guidance has warned.

The Department for Education has published new advice for initial teacher training providers, which expands on a policy statement issued last month.

School closures and social distancing rules implemented by the government have led to concerns about the impact of coronavirus on teacher supply.

Schools Week revealed that the government had given providers the go-ahead to recommend trainees for QTS based on their completed assessments and progress towards the teachers’ standards.

But the government has today warned that these allowances “do not, under any circumstances, give trainees a ‘free pass’” and said ITT providers “should not make any recommendation for QTS without giving full consideration to a trainee’s progress and available evidence”.

For current trainees, providers should make an “initial judgement on trajectory towards meeting the teachers’ standards based on assessments already completed”, and then refine that judgement “based on trainees’ progress through the remainder of the course”.

They will then confirm “at the end of the course” whether a trainee will be recommended for QTS.

However, the guidance still doesn’t say what providers should do about trainees who are judged to be unlikely to meet the teachers’ standards by the end of their course.

The guidance also advises ITT providers that their courses “should continue where at all possible, even if the original programme of training cannot be followed”.

Providers may also “wish to make more content available online, conduct sessions via video conference”, or even involve trainees in the “organisation of any online educational activities schools are organising”.

It follows disagreements in the schools community over the amount of work schools should be setting. Unions have warned that schools cannot carry on as normal, but some parents have reported being asked to provide regular updates on the children’s progress.

Like the policy statement issued on March 25, the ITT guidance sent out today doesn’t offer further information about what providers should do if they feel a trainee is not going to meet the teachers’ standards.

“Further guidance will be provided as soon as possible for those trainees not already meeting the teachers’ standards or who are not on a trajectory to meet the teachers’ standards at the end of their course,” it states.