From education to employment

Renewed focus on teacher training to ensure excellent teachers in every classroom

Schools Minister Robin Walker

Every teacher in the country will have access to free, high-quality, ongoing training as part of the Government’s continued drive to ensure every pupil in England is taught by an excellent teacher, levelling up education across the country.

High-quality, Government-accredited training programmes – National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) – will continue to be free for teachers to take for the next two academic years (22/23 and 23/24), following Government investment of £184 million.

Today’s announcements form part of the government’s commitment to provide 500,000 teacher training opportunities during this Parliament, helping give every single student the opportunity to be taught by dedicated, highly trained teachers, and level up opportunity across the country.

To enable teachers and leaders in every corner of England to take up the free training offer, additional payments to small schools are being introduced, helping ensure that where a child lives has no bearing on the quality of teaching they receive. The Targeted Support Fund will give a grant payment of £200 per participant to schools with 1-600 pupils, for every teacher or leader they employ who participates in an NPQ.

This comes as the government has announced the School Led Development Trust (SLDT), a consortium of four leading multi academy trusts, will establish and run the new flagship National Institute of Teaching.

The National Institute of Teaching will deliver high-quality Initial Teacher Training, Early Career Framework, National Professional Qualifications and National Leaders of Education development programmes and will generate and share cutting-edge research and insights into best practice, to improve the quality of teacher training nationwide.

This new package of support for teachers’ continuous professional development comes as schools across the country celebrate Thank a Teacher Day, which recognises the hard work and passion of everyone working in education.

Schools Minister Robin Walker said:

“Teachers are the backbone of our school system, inspiring, educating, caring for and ultimately preparing our next generation to make the very best of their lives. Each and every teacher and staff member deserves our thanks and recognition – they certainly have mine.

“I’m privileged to have seen and met so many committed and brilliant teachers across this country and I want to make sure that they are supported to be the very best they can be, so that every single pupil – wherever they live – is taught by an excellent teacher.

“The broadening in scope of our fully-funded training means that every teacher who wants to will benefit, while our first of its kind National Institute of Teaching will be at the forefront of the delivery of teacher training, driving up support for teachers and the quality of teaching in schools, ultimately helping to level up education for all.”

The availability of NPQs is also being extended, with two new NPQs set to be introduced in Early Years Leadership – to support school leaders in their work to ensure every child gets the best start in life – and Leading Literacy, to develop school leaders’ expertise in the teaching of reading and writing. This is a step towards delivering the Government’s commitment, as set out in the Schools White Paper, to improving literacy standards across the country.

The scope of education settings eligible to support the NPQ scholarships is also being broadened to include independent special schools, hospital schools and young offender institutions, among others.

The Harris Federation, Oasis Community Learning, Outwood Grange Academies Trust and Star Academies make up the four trusts to have formed SLDT to run the National Institute of Teaching. Further partnerships with a number of well-reputed school trusts will ensure that the National Institute of Teaching has the scale to reach teachers and leaders up and down the country.

The Institute will be led by a faculty of expert teacher educators, working from its headquarters in Blackburn, Lancashire, and its regional campuses across England. It will recruit and train teachers in the most disadvantaged areas and support levelling up by creating more than half of its new jobs in the North West and North East, and recruiting 20% of staff from the least socially mobile areas in the country. It aims to positively impact every teacher in England by 2028, either directly via its training courses or through the best practice guidance that it will distribute.

Melanie Renowden, founding CEO of the National Institute of Teaching, said:

“The National Institute of Teaching is uniquely positioned to create a bridge between evidence and education practice. As a school-led consortium, we are perfectly equipped to translate evidence on best practice into action that can be implemented in schools up and down the country.

“It is not just that we know schools and work well with schools. Our trusts and our partners are delivering education excellence in classrooms across England, often in communities that have the toughest of deals, where our work has the potential to make the biggest difference. We will investigate what has been working, codify what we learn and share it across the school system.

“We are looking forward to the National Institute of Teaching playing a central role in nurturing the talents of teachers and leaders at all stages of their careers, so they can provide children and young people with the world-class education they deserve.”

Separately, having listened to sector feedback, the Government is making improvements to the online training platform for Early Career Teachers, intended to reduce the workload for teachers, schools, delivery partners and the appropriate bodies overseeing teacher training.

Alongside this, research is being published on the experiences of Early Career Teachers, mentors and induction tutors, following the first term of the national rollout of the ECF-based induction programmes for early career teachers.

Initial findings, from a three-year evaluation process, show high levels of enthusiasm and engagement with the programmes and underline the broad support across the sector for giving early career teachers evidence-based development and support at the start of their careers. The main challenges centred on workload and a perceived lack of flexibility in the programmes. Feedback will be used to make improvements to the programmes, including making materials more user-friendly, simplifying the digital service and producing guidance on applying the content of the programmes to different contexts and roles.

Sector Response

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“While we welcome the government’s action to provide free training programmes and associated support for schools, we remain gravely concerned about the fact that there are not enough teachers in the first place. Many schools experience significant difficulties as a result of teacher shortages, and this particularly affects those schools which face the greatest challenges. This is because the government frequently misses its own initial teacher training targets and too many teachers leave the profession early in their careers. The government must significantly improve salaries across the board after a decade of pay erosion in real terms, improve funding to schools and ratchet down the pressures of an excessively harsh accountability regime.

“We congratulate the trusts which will run the National Institute of Teaching and wish them well. However, we remain concerned about exactly how the institute will work alongside established teacher training providers where there are regional campuses competing for the same pool of graduate trainees. It is going to be important that the institute complements the existing system rather than leading to a muddle of teacher training routes.”

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