The Department for Education has published its response to the ITT market review today – setting out finalised reforms for the sector.
There are some concessions to the initial proposals in the review (as covered in our news story here). Here’s Schools Week’s trusty guide to what you need to know…
1. Extra year before reforms will kick in
DfE has extended the implementation of its reforms by one year – meaning all ITT programmes leading to qualified teacher status (QTS) will now need to comply with the new rules from the 2024-25 academic year.
Accreditation processes will be run both this year and in 2022-23. Providers can apply for accreditation in both rounds, including if they are unsuccessful in round one.
Current guidance only lists application dates for this year though, with round one deadline February 7 and round two deadline June 27.
Applicants will be asked to “demonstrate, through written answers to questions concerning their plans for curricula, mentoring and partnerships” and how that “delivers against the Core Content Framework”.
Financial viability will also be taken into account. Those reaccredited will have “a minimum of 12 months to develop their curricula ahead of September 2024 delivery”.
There will also be a “post-accreditation follow-up process” where providers will submit curriculum samples and discuss mentoring plans to develop a “mutually agreed action plan”.
2. £36m to introduce reforms
The government has stumped up £35.7 million to help push through the reforms.
Grants of up to £25 million will be made available in the 2024-25 financial year to “backfill” staff taken out of classrooms for ‘general’ and ‘lead’ mentor training, as well as to cover lead mentor work (such as spending time with trainees and other mentors).
Another £5.7 million in the same year will help “meet the expert time needed to deliver this element and administrative costs” to schools of organising intensive training and practice.
While grants of £25,000 will also be available for approved providers to “implement the review’s recommendations”.
Cash for any future years is dependent on the spending review.
3. More regular Ofsteds, but no wider ITT checks
Ofsted will inspect providers every three years from September 2024, compared to the current six-year inspection cycle. This is part of the government’s new approach to “external quality assurance”.
DfE will also “take a more proactive role in ensuring there are enough high-quality training places across the country to serve the workforce needs of local schools”.
This includes “monitoring sufficiency closely and considering the most effective ways to intervene in cases of underperformance and in areas with insufficient supply of teacher training places”.
The government has chosen not to “require schools to participate in ITT or require Ofsted to judge a school on the basis of its involvement” as it needs “more evidence on how involvement in ITT improves the education outcomes of pupils”.
Instead it “commits to reviewing any emerging evidence on the impact of school involvement in ITT on education”. The department will also work with Ofsted to review findings from upcoming research into effective teacher development in schools.
The government will also consider the expectation it puts on academy trusts to supporting teacher training.
4. DfE relaxes ‘lead’ mentor mandates
DfE has reduced the minimum initial training hours that “lead” mentors need to undertake, from 36 to 30 hours.
Original proposals suggested a 1:50 minimum ratio for lead mentors to trainees, but this has been dropped.
Lead mentors will also not have to take a national professional qualification, or equivalent training, as was originally recommended. Instead this will be an “ambition”.
DfE has also lowered the minimum initial training time for “general” mentors from the proposed 24 hours to to 20 hours. It has also reduced the minimum mentor support for trainees during general placements from two to 1.5 hours per week.
Elsewhere, providers will also be given “some discretion” on how to carry out the minimum of four weeks of “intensive training and practice” for postgraduate trainees, and six weeks for undergraduates. DfE changed the term used from “intensive placement” to recognise the additional flexibility for providers.
Intensive training also does not need to take place in consecutive weeks and some can be delivered virtually, pre-recorded or take place at their training provider’s location.
The review had recommended that single-year ITT courses leading to QTS should be required to be 38 weeks long. But the DfE has decided this should now be 36 weeks as a minimum with at least 24 weeks of school placements.
5. Evidence reviews promised after uni backlash
Leading universities had threatened to end their teacher training courses after fears of a “highly prescribed curriculum” when plans were announced.
In an apparent move to ease those concerns, DfE said it will not “define an evidence base” beyond that set out in the core content framework, instead using the quality assurance process to make sure all evidence is “coherent with the framework”.
It adds providers should “continue to exercise their autonomy in designing curricula appropriate for the particular subjects, phases and age ranges that their trainees will teach”.
Evidence underpinning the CCF will also be “regularly reviewed”. DfE committed to working with the Education Endowment Foundation (which independently assessed the CCF) and “sector representatives to consider how it can best be achieved”.