The University of Greenwich has written to the Government to raise concerns about how the quality of teacher training is assessed in what it called a ‘seriously flawed’ approach.
The University, which has provided teacher training for 120 years, lost its accreditation to deliver teacher training late last year following the Government’s controversial Initial Teacher Training (ITT) “market review”, a desk-based exercise.
However, a more intensive in-person review by Ofsted last week rated Greenwich ‘Good’ across all aspects of its provision including its teacher apprenticeships. Making it only one of two HEIs delivering all four phases of teacher training that have been rated as Good since January 2022 when the accreditation process began.
Seven universities that lost their accreditation have been inspected for the quality of their teacher training by Ofsted since January 2022, and all have received ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Good’ ratings. In contrast, six out of the nineteen providers inspected that were accredited by the Government have received ratings of ‘Inadequate’ or ‘Requires Improvement’, raising questions about the market review.
Professor Jane Harrington, Vice-Chancellor and CEO at the University of Greenwich said:
“We have ongoing and serious concerns about the rigor, reliability and validity of the desk-based ITT accreditation process undertaken last year that claimed to be assessing the quality of Initial Teacher Training provision in higher education institutions.
“We have written to the Secretary of State and the Education Select Committee to outline the contradictions between the results of the incredibly rigorous independent Ofsted inspection process, involving a week-long visit by multiple inspectors, and the outcome of the paper-based accreditation process last year.”
“The market review process was inconsistent and unfair, and the removal of accreditation means we will need to spend a significant amount of money on a new partnership process that isn’t needed.”
Professor Derek Moore (Pro Vice Chancellor of Education, Health and Human sciences) added:
“By removing accreditation, there will be more barriers to getting our best and brightest into teaching at a time where the country is struggling to recruit and retain educators. This decision will only serve to further disadvantage school children and put even more pressure on schools struggling to recruit new teachers.”
“Money spent on a new partnership would be better spent on supporting trainees with challenges, which Ofsted recently commended us for. The Government advocates levelling up, widening access for all students and the potential for apprenticeship routes in to HE and yet their decisions around ITT directly conflict with these apparent priorities.”
“We are absolutely committed to continuing to provide the best possible teacher training and to support future generations of children and young people to have the best start in life.
“We are asking for a fair and equitable process that allows long established, independently assessed universities, like ours, to continue training the teachers of the future, and to be allowed to play our part to address the current teacher recruitment and retention crisis.”
The University has requested a review of the accreditation process and the chance to reapply or be reinstated at the earliest opportunity.