ITT partnerships to help ‘cold spots’ fall through

Two proposed plans involving four universities have collapsed

Two proposed plans involving four universities have collapsed

24 Jun 2023, 5:00

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Proposed ITT partnerships in 'cold spot' areas for teacher training have fallen through

Two potential initial teacher training (ITT) partnerships that would plug gaps in “cold spot” regions with little training provision have fallen through.

A proposed partnership between the University of Cumbria (UoC) and University College London (UCL) will not go ahead after “detailed discussions” led to a dead end. 

Similar talks between the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the University of Roehampton are also understood to have collapsed. 

UoC, which was rated ‘good’ by Ofsted in its last inspection and is in an area previously identified as a cold spot by the Department for Education, was not reaccredited to provide ITT in the government’s market review of the sector. 

After all appeals against unsuccessful bids were turned down, it announced in January that it was in “early stage discussions” to form a partnership with UCL, which is accredited to continue ITT from September 2024.

Unaccredited providers are able to remain in ITT as “delivery” or “lead” partners to an accredited provider. 

Dr Ruth Harrison-Palmer, Cumbria’s Institute of Education director, earlier said the talks presented an “exciting route to continue to provide our county and communities with the teachers needed”.

“UCL shares our core mission and values…and we are intent on maximising the benefits of a partnership approach.”

‘Difficult decision’

But in a statement shared with Schools Week this week, UoC said after “more detailed discussions, UCL has made the difficult decision not to proceed any further”. 

“UCL [has] stressed that this decision is in no way a reflection on us or of any doubts as to the potential mutual benefits of partnership”, a spokesperson said.

They added that UCL had “indicated” it was keen to explore “other opportunities for broad partnership working” between the institutions, and it was UoC’s “intention” to continue to deliver ITT through a partnership. 

A UCL spokesperson confirmed the decision. 

Meanwhile, it understood that initial discussions between UEA and Roehampton did not lead to a formalised partnership, but neither institution would comment. 

A UEA spokesperson said: “We are working to establish a new partnership and due to the commercially sensitive stage of discussions we are unable to comment further at present.”

Government-funded grants for ITT partnerships between accredited and unaccredited providers were only available for 11 eligible areas, understood to be the “cold spot” areas identified in the government’s market review of the sector. 

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