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Initial teacher training (ITT) response warmly welcomed by NASBTT

NASBTT Executive Director Emma Hollis

The Department for Education (DfE) has today (1 Dec) published its response to the initial teacher training (ITT) market review report. The central recommendation that all ITT providers implement a new set of quality requirements and that a robust accreditation process should take place to ensure that all providers meet the requirements in full, both at the point of accreditation, and on a continuing basis, has been confirmed.

Applicants will be able to apply for accreditation in at least two application rounds taking place in 2022. Any provider that is not successful in the first round will be able to re-apply in later round(s) if they wish to. They will be asked to demonstrate, via a written application process, their plans for curricula, mentoring and partnerships, and how these plans will deliver against the Core Content Framework (CCF) and the ITT criteria for 2024-25 (which will incorporate the new quality requirements set out in this response). The DfE will also take financial viability to deliver ITT into account.

Providers will, if accredited, have a minimum of 12 months to develop their curricula ahead of delivery in 2024. A post-accreditation follow-up process will take place between the point of accreditation and the start of programme delivery during which providers will be asked to submit a number of curriculum samples and discuss their mentoring plans and partnership proposals.

In addition to (re)accreditation, Ofsted will continue to inspect ITT delivery. The current inspection cycle will be completed earlier than expected, by July 2024. Ofsted will then move to a three-year inspection cycle from September 2024.

NASBTT Executive Director Emma Hollis said:

“We would like to place on record our appreciation to colleagues at the Department for Education (DfE) for listening to our feedback on many of the practical and logistical difficulties identified by the sector in relation to a number of the recommendations. Adaptations and clarifications around many of the requirements are to be warmly welcomed, particularly those around intensive training and practice, lead mentor teams and structures and partnership. We are especially pleased to note the recognition in the report of the “importance of enabling providers of different types and sizes, and in different contexts, to operate in the market”. NASBTT, alongside UCET, has been asked by DfE to support providers around these issues and we look forward to continuing to work with the sector.

“We also warmly welcome the commitment to funding for the implementation of the recommendations, for development of intensive training and practice opportunities, and to support lead and mentor training. We are cautiously optimistic about the commitment this government is showing to building the capacity of the mentor workforce in schools. The steps taken in this response represent some important pieces in the puzzle and are definitely to be applauded. However, the wider issue of capacity in schools will need to continue to be monitored closely and concerted efforts made to ensure that capacity is built over time to support this, and other, initiatives they aspire to deliver.

“Having been able to broadly welcome and support the outcomes of the quality requirement recommendations, where the concerns of the sector have clearly been heard and responded to, we are hugely disappointed to note that the legitimate and widely expressed concerns about the accreditation process have been ignored and the government is intent on pursuing a risky, expensive and entirely unnecessary accreditation process. We have consistently reported, and firmly believe, that the quality requirements could be met in other, far less disruptive, ways. We remain convinced that this process poses an unnecessary risk to supply and will unfairly discriminate against smaller providers in particular.

“The timeline proposed for the accreditation process – two application rounds taking place in 2022 – demonstrates a complete lack of recognition of the pressures in the school sector and shows the government to be unresponsive to the reasonable arguments put to it over the past few months regarding the incredible strain everyone is under. Whilst the government has, rightly, recognised the need for more time for implementation, this recognition has not extended to their plans for the accreditation process itself. Given that the report also confirms that the Ofsted inspection cycle will be accelerated, with all providers inspected by July 2024, we would strongly suggest that the accreditation process is an entirely unnecessary additional burden for providers whose readiness to deliver the new requirements could more easily, and with less disruption, be assessed through the existing quality assurance process of Ofsted inspections.

“Given that an accreditation process is now inevitable, we do recognise and welcome the funding commitment offered to successful providers and the fact that time has been built into the process to support post-accreditation follow-up. The government has indicated that the accreditation process will recognise the need for development over time and will not seek to exclude providers who have capacity to meet the quality requirements but who, for legitimate reasons, may need more time to develop their offer.

“Needless to say we will support our members through the process of accreditation. We are now arranging a series of events on the approach to accreditation and will continue to provide opportunities for knowledge-sharing and networking – and these will begin next month.

“NASBTT is absolutely committed to working with school-based ITT providers – SCITTs, School Direct Lead Schools and Teaching School Hubs – and HEIs to ensure the sector remains at the forefront of developing the next generation of teachers. We will do everything in our power to ensure that children’s education is not affected by any unintended consequences of today’s announcement in terms of teacher supply.”

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