Teacher training

Institute of Teaching hits target – with a little help from its friends

Recruits from founding academy trusts counted towards flagship teacher trainer's first-year figures

Recruits from founding academy trusts counted towards flagship teacher trainer's first-year figures


Recruits from teacher trainers that have partnered with the National Institute of Teaching (NIoT) will count towards the flagship organisation’s recruitment targets.

The institute has been billed as England’s “flagship teacher training and development provider”, backed by a government contract of up to £121 million. Although just £5 million of this is for running the institute, with £6 million for research.

The rest is to fund recruits for the training programmes it offers, similar to other providers – and a lot will also be funded by ITT trainees.

Set up by four academy trusts, NIoT recruited 502 trainees for this year, its first year of delivery – hitting its 500 target.

But it has emerged recruits from two of its founders Harris Federation and Star Academies – which were already teacher training providers – actually counted towards NIoT’s recruitment figures last year.

Another two teacher training providers have also paused their accreditation to become lead partners with the institute, meaning their recruits will also count as NIoT’s.

Fears recruitment boost ‘won’t happen’

James Noble-Rogers, executive director of the Universities Council for the Education of Teacher, said: “One of the justifications for investing large amounts of public money in the NIoT was that it would lead to a net increase in recruitment.

“This clearly won’t happen if they rely on recruiting student teachers who would otherwise have gone to other providers.

“Reassurances were also given that it would complement, rather than compete, with existing high-quality provision. I will be very worried if that turns out not to be the case.”

Harris and Star recruited 222 trainees for the year before NIoT was established – suggesting a huge chunk of its trainees for this year would likely have been recruited by the trusts anyway.

Emma Rennison
Emma Rennison

But NIoT said it was always the plan for Harris and Star’s recruits to count as its own, as they are its founding members.

Emma Rennison, NIoT’s executive director of partnerships, added they had “doubled the expected numbers from our founding SCITTs – and we are making a meaningful impact on ‘who’ we are reaching and ‘where’ we are making a difference.”

The Alban Federation has also become a lead partner at the institute, and Shelley College will partner with both NIoT and the Ambition Institute.

Trainers have ‘full accountability’

Accredited providers have “full and final accountability for all aspects of training design, delivery, and quality across the partnership”, DfE guidance states.

While lead partners “have an operational or strategic role with responsibilities such as trainee recruitment, delivering training, involvement in curriculum design (and) supplying lead mentors”.

NIoT’s recruitment target for this year is 1,000 trainees. In the 2023-24 academic year , Alban Federation SCITT had 32 recruits and Shelley College’s Kirklees and Calderdale SCITT had 40.

Lucy Sykes, director of the Calderdale and Kirklees Teaching School Hub, said one of its “strategic partners” is an associate college of the institute so it “made sense to pursue this route.

“Our first year of this partnership has been very successful, so it made sense to place our accreditation in dormancy, to build on this great start over the next few years.”

Rennison added: “Schools need more expertly-trained teachers, and (NIoT) wants to work with the sector to rise to this challenge.

“At the same time as recruiting to our own teaching programmes, we are supporting other teacher educators through our research function.”

Clarification: This article was amended shortly after publication to include further details of NIoT’s government contract

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