National Institute of Teaching hints at running iQTS training abroad

One of the founding trust's leaders also said the NIoT would mean 'positive disruption' for the teacher training sector at home

One of the founding trust's leaders also said the NIoT would mean 'positive disruption' for the teacher training sector at home

24 Jun 2022, 14:59

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The National Institute of Teaching will consider delivering the government’s new international training qualification once it has established it in England, one of its founding trust leaders has suggested.

Schools Week revealed in March that four large academy trusts had won the £121 million contract to become the country’s flagship teacher training provider.

When fully up and running, the institute (NIoT) will be expected to train thousands of new, early-career and more experienced teachers at four hubs across the country.

‘It doesn’t have to stop at the English border’

Martyn Oliver, the chief executive of Outwood Grange Academies Trust, has suggested its ambitions also include international teacher training.

He told Schools Week an “international element” was part of the trusts’ NIoT bid. 

However, the government’s international qualified teacher status qualification (iQTS) is not part of its current agreement.

The iQTS was unveiled last year to help “export excellence in teacher training”, with six partners already chosen to pilot it from September.

The qualification’s framework is expected to closely mirror requirements for English initial teacher training (ITT), but providers are promised flexibility over delivery – including no limits on distance learning.

“Our priority is to make sure the English education system is the best served. But of course if you’re going to deliver world-class education, then you need to look at what rest of world is doing,” Oliver said.

“Equally, if you go down to the sense of being ‘truly civic’ – it doesn’t mean it has to stop at the English border. Anything that we learn, so we need to learn from others and share with others.”

Speaking at the Confederation of School Trust’s ‘Truly Civic’ annual conference last week, Oliver stressed it was only something “in the pipeline”. 

“It’s not defined, and we need to see what that looks like.” But he added it might form part of the programme in the future. “Ultimately we want to become self-sustaining anyway as an organisation.”

The School-Led Development Trust, founded by OGAT, the Harris Federation, Star Academies and Oasis Community Learning, has government funding until 2028 under a £121 million contract.

Institute will cause ‘positive disruption’

Concerns around the institute have focused on where it will fit into the sector.

Dame Alison Peacock, the chief executive of the Chartered College of Teaching (CCT), welcomed the institute’s “exciting” vision, but encouraged collaboration to ensure we “don’t replicate things”. 

“You’re not going to be able to shift the culture all by yourself overnight,” she told the conference.

Oliver said the programmes would respond to the CCT’s vision of teacher professionalism in a “symbiotic relationship”.

But he noted there would be “an element of positive disruption to the system”, and trust concerns over recruitment, retention and development “tells us it’s required”.

He told Schools Week that OGAT was finding it challenging to recruit computer science staff. 

Trainee numbers nationally were “catastrophically low”, and “the curriculum cannot be delivered unless we do something about it”.

Focus on ‘hard-to-recruit’ subjects

The NIoT’s contract, published this week, shows it must prioritise “hard-to-recruit subjects”. It will sign up at least 500 trainees in September next year, rising to 1,000 in 2024.

The institute is also required to have a “clear focus on schools serving disadvantaged areas and cohorts”.

At least 22 per cent of early career teachers and their mentors must be from schools with at least 40 per cent of pupil premium students. At least 5 per cent of ITT trainees must also spend half their placement time at such schools.

And at least 65 per cent of early career teachers and NPQ participants must be at schools that are in a trust involved in the institute.

They will also be “encouraged” to work “with at least some schools that have no history or an inconsistent history of offering ITT placements”.

The institute’s remit includes “running trials on approaches to delivery. This could include applying learning from cognitive science or behavioural science to teacher development and the testing of cutting-edge delivery approaches, where appropriate.”

Elsewhere, the contract shows there will be at least 120 full-time equivalent staff when at full capacity, with at least half in the north east and north west.

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