Trainee teachers unable to complete their courses because of Covid disruption will once again be able to achieve qualified teacher status based on their progress, new guidance has confirmed.
The Department for Education has updated its guidance to state that initial teacher training providers will be able to recommend trainees for QTS if they are “satisfied that the trainee has demonstrated adequate progress towards meeting the teachers’ standards during their course, and would have met them, were it not for disruption relating to coronavirus”.
This is because the latest lockdown has caused a “variance in the disruption experienced by ITT trainees”.
The change brings the rules for the 2020-21 academic year into line with those put in place last year in response to disruption to ITT caused by the first lockdown.
ITT providers must still continue to ensure courses are as “comprehensive as possible”, the guidance says, and should only recommend trainees for QTS in this way “where appropriate and necessary”.
Providers should not recommend trainees for QTS if they feel they have “not yet been able to demonstrate adequate progress towards meeting the teachers’ standards”.
This may include trainees who have had their time available to undertake practical teaching experience in schools “significantly curtailed”.
The DfE will “continue to monitor” the impact of Covid-19 on initial teacher training courses “throughout the 2020 to 2021 academic year”.
Further guidance, including for trainees deemed to have not made adequate progress towards the teachers’ standards by the end of their course, “will be provided in due course as appropriate”, the department said.
The rule change is subject to parliamentary approval, and is scheduled to be laid before Parliament in the spring.
Also due to be laid before Parliament is a rule change which will allow trainees to undertake practical teaching experience “wholly or mainly outside England” this year because of Covid. Normally, they have to have gained most of their experience in the country, but the DfE acknowledged some may not have been able to.
ITT guidance has also been updated to state that students whose course contains an education element and are on a school placement are considered “critical workers” for the purposes of sending their children to school.
Higher education teaching staff are also critical workers if they are “required to support students who are continuing their placements in person and cannot be supported remotely”, and this includes ITT tutors “supporting trainees on placement”.
The guidance previously only stated that ITT trainees were considered critical workers.