teacher training

All initial teacher training providers would have to be re-accredited under proposals from a major government review that anticipates a “significant market reconfiguration”.

The Department for Education is consulting on sweeping changes to ITT, including a new accreditation scheme, following the release of its ITT market review report.

The government said it anticipated “significant market reconfiguration and the development of new capacity will be necessary”. If implemented, the proposals could see providers having to apply for re-accreditation by next spring.

Changes mark ITT ‘step-change’

The report recommended new quality requirements for ITT, which it said would “mark a step-change in the delivery of initial teacher training”.

It says “all ITT providers should be required to go through a new accreditation process, regardless of whether they are currently offering initial teacher training or are new to ITT provision”.

Under the accreditation powers, government could step in and broker trainees at failing providers to other organisations. Providers will also have to “design and deliver an intensive placement experience” for trainees.

The review also calls for a bigger ITT role for Ofsted and sets out an “expectation” on growing academy trusts to deliver ITT (read the Schools Week round-up of all the key proposals here).

According to the DfE’s consultation document, the reforms could be introduced in the autumn of 2023 “at the earliest”.

This would involve launching the accreditation process in autumn 2021 and “potential providers establishing partnerships, gathering evidence against the quality requirements and applying for accreditation or re-accreditation by spring 2022”.

Providers would then be assessed before accreditation is recommended “before the end of the 2021-22 academic year”.

They would then have a “further year to recruit trainees and prepare for first teaching of the new ITT courses by September
2023”, the DfE said.

Proposals ‘huge risk to teacher supply’

Emma Hollis, from the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers, said making providers reapply “within just a five-month window risks the loss of exceptional providers from the system because they do not have sufficient time, resource and capacity to undertake the process effectively.”

ITT review teacher recruitment

Emma Hollis

“The report presents no evidence to suggest that existing providers of ITT would be unable to deliver the new curriculum requirements in full,” she adds. “A wide-scale, expensive and disruptive re-accreditation process poses a huge risk to teacher supply.”

Both the Chartered College of Teaching and the National Association of Headteachers have opposed the findings, with the latter urging government to instead “pause and take stock”.

Nick Brook, NAHT’ deputy general secretary, said “there is no crisis in teacher training that needs fixing… As schools focus on education recovery post-pandemic, this is the worst possible time to embark on an unnecessary shake-up of teacher training.”

The review report said it was “likely that many providers will wish or need to create formal partnerships … in order to create the wide range of capacity which will be needed”.

The report acknowledged that ITT providers and partnerships ” may incur additional costs as they seek to implement the quality requirements, including in the form of staff time to work on the new curriculum and training requirements and in the arrangements for the intensive placements”.

“As a result, it would seem to us that some additional grant funding may be needed to ‘pump prime’ the extra work that will need to be undertaken to meet the quality requirements.”

Gibb: Reforms will create ‘golden thread’

Schools minister Nick Gibb said the proposed changes would “build upon the ambitious reforms the government has implemented to create a golden thread of training, support and professional development, informed by high quality evidence, which will run through each phase of a teacher’s career”.

The ITT market review was originally proposed in 2019 as part of the DfE’s recruitment and retention strategy, but fell by the wayside following the change of government later that year.

But Schools Week revealed last autumn that it had been rebooted to tackle the “overly complex” nature of the sector.

The review found issues such as consistency across partnerships and between providers in the content and quality of the training curriculum.

Other “important features” that were “often challenging to achieve” included the alignment between the taught curriculum and training environments and high-quality mentoring. Another problem was the supply of enough high-quality placements and clarity about how the market operations for potential trainees.

The DfE has also published draft quality requirements which all providers would have to implement.

These cover the design of the training curriculum, the identification of placement schools, the identification and training of mentors, the design and use of a “detailed assessment framework”, a quality assurance requirement for all accredited providers and structures and partnerships “which will need the capacity to deliver the quality of training we believe is required”.