Coronavirus: Trainees to qualify based on progress made towards teachers' standards

Trainee teachers due to qualify this year will be judged on their completed assessments and progress towards the teachers’ standards if they cannot complete their courses due to coronavirus disruption.

In a policy statement sent to initial teacher training partnerships, seen by Schools Week, the Department for Education advised providers to continue to deliver courses online “where possible”, but said it recognised there “will be disruption”.

As a result, the DfE will enable providers to make judgements on trainees “based on assessments already completed and each trainee’s current trajectory of progress towards meeting the teachers’ standards”.

Those making progress towards the standards should be recommended for qualified teacher status “where the ITT provider judges that the trainee would have completed their ITT course successfully”.

ITT providers have for some time been asking for information from the government on what to do with this year’s cohort of trainees.

Emma Hollis, executive director of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers, said this is the “most pragmatic and sensible way forward, recognising the hard work and progress already made by the trainees, whilst simultaneously protecting the flow of new entrants into the profession for September”.

However, the guidance does not state how those not judged to be making “adequate progress”, and who were “unlikely to have met the teachers’ standards by the end of their ITT course”, will proceed.

Further guidance will be provided on that “as soon as possible”, the DfE said.

“ITT providers must inform trainees of these arrangements and keep them informed of their status for the remaining duration of their course,” the guidance states.

The government has also revealed it is proposing amendments to legislation and supporting guidance to enable its approach.

This will be alongside changes to the ITT criteria and supporting advice “to provide assurance that providers will not be found non-compliant when making judgements as described above”.

For example, the government will remove a rule which currently requires each trainee teacher to have taught in at least two schools.

Arrangements for assessments of academic awards such as PGCEs “should be agreed with the awarding body”, the DfE said.

Despite the nationwide lockdown, ITT providers are being encouraged by the DfE to continue recruiting to courses due to start next academic year.

Providers should “consider remote interviews and the removal of any classroom exercises”, the DfE said, and further advice and support will be provided “in due course”.

But Hollis said some providers are concerned about being able to recruit sufficient trainees for next year. She said similar financial support as that offered to businesses should be “given to ITT providers to help them survive, should this become necessary”.