Bosses of a university stripped of accreditation through the government’s ITT review have slammed the “inconsistent and unfair” process after Ofsted rated its provision as ‘good’.
Inspectors said the University of Greenwich’s “ambitious” programmes “prepare trainees well” for the profession, less than a year after it was informed it had not met the requirements set by the initial teacher training market review.
Leaders have written to education secretary Gillian Keegan, and warned the “clear discrepancy raises further concerns about the rigor and validity of the ITT accreditation process”.
Just 179 of around 240 providers made it through the re-accreditation process last year, and a number of those snubbed have since received glowing Ofsted reports.
Schools Week analysis of the latest inspection data showed 78 per cent of unaccredited providers are currently rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ under Ofsted’s tougher new inspection framework.
The University of Greenwich did not make it through, but inspectors this month praised the provider for its “high-quality” curriculum and “clear moral purpose”, as it received ‘good’ marks across the board following a visit in June.
‘Clear discrepancy raises concerns’
In their letter to Keegan, vice-chancellor Jane Harrington and pro vice-chancellor Derek Moore said their university, which has trained teachers for 120 years, said the process was “inconsistent and unfair”.
“If the focus of accreditation is on quality, it would be reasonable to expect that Ofsted inspections conducted during the accreditation period should align with the ITT market review accreditation outcomes. However, this has not been the case.
“This clear discrepancy raises further concerns about the rigor and validity of the ITT accreditation process in assessing the quality of Initial Teacher Training provision in higher education institutions.”
The Ofsted report said Greenwich leaders’ “clear moral purpose shines through each phase and imbues trainees with feelings of purposefulness and motivation”.
Those enrolled on the courses “receive high-quality training from the university” and “develop a keen understanding about their responsibility to safeguard pupils”.
Those not accredited through the market review can continue to train educators until 2024, but leaders raised concerns some would withdraw early, leaving gaps from this September and exacerbating recruitment woes.
Ministers hope those denied accreditiation will partner with other accredited teacher trainers, but Greenwich’s leaders said money for partnerships “would be better spent on supporting trainees with challenges, which Ofsted recently commended us for”.
Accredited providers given chance to improve
Our latest analysis shows that of 82 accredited providers inspected since the new framework came into effect in 2020, 55 are rated ‘good’ (67 per cent) for their school-age provision.
A further 25 are outstanding (30 per cent) and two are ‘outstanding’ for primary and ‘good’ for secondary provision.
However, six accredited providers have been inspected twice under the new framework, initially receiving ‘requires improvement’ ratings for their school-age provision. Five improved to ‘good’ and one to ‘outstanding’ after re-inspections.
Harrington and Moore said it was “inconsistent and unfair that accredited providers rated as requiring improvement or inadequate are given the opportunity to retain their accreditation through re-inspections, while unaccredited providers have been denied such an opportunity”.
They urged Keegan to “review the implementation of these reforms and the accreditation process” as it “goes against the core British value of fairness”.
Keegan should be ‘extremely concerned’
“As secretary of state, we expect that you will be extremely concerned about the contradictions between the Ofsted inspection results and the accreditation process, given that it once again calls into question its validity, reliability and rigor.”
Of the 40 unaccredited providers inspected under the new framework, three are ‘outstanding’ (8 per cent), 28 are ‘good’ (70 per cent), five are ‘requires improvement’ (13 per cent) and four are inadequate (10 per cent).
However, of those rated ‘good’, one was rated ‘inadequate’ and two ‘requires improvement’ at previous inspections under the new framework, while two others improved from ‘inadequate’ to RI.
When two snubbed providers were given glowing Ofsted reports earlier this year, Professor Sam Twiselton, a government adviser on the ITT review, said the process had led to “some bad and unintended consequences”, adding: “I would trust Ofsted far more than the accreditation process.”
A DfE spokesperson said its reforms would “increase the confidence of those entering the workforce, supporting longer term retention and ultimately raising standards for every child”.
“179 providers were approved following our robust accreditation process and we will continue to work towards strengthening the quality of training to ensure we meet the demand for training places from September 2024.”
Additional reporting by Amy Walker, Samantha Booth, Freddie Whittaker.