Forcing trainees on schools idea played down by the DfE

Schools not 'committed to initial teacher training' could end up offering lower quality support, the DfE warns
4th November 2020, 11:10am

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Forcing trainees on schools idea played down by the DfE

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/forcing-trainees-schools-idea-played-down-dfe
Teacher Training: Should Schools Be Forced To Offer Itt?

Forcing schools to take on teacher trainees would lower the quality of support on offer, a senior Department for Education official has warned.

Earlier this year, the government was advised to consider "mandating" schools to play an active role in teacher training.

But this idea was yesterday shot down by Ruth Talbot, head of the "initial teacher training - train to teach" division at the DfE.

Speaking at the annual Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) conference, she said that if schools that are not "that committed to ITT [initial teacher training]" were made to host placements, then some trainees may miss out on a "good quality experience".

Asked about mandating schools to engage in ITT by making it an Ofsted requirement, she responded: "It's a tension, isn't it?


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"It's a tension between placement sufficiency, the role of the schools sector in supporting the training that - recruitment of new teachers - that kind of moral obligation for schools, but also the fact that every single person on this call will know that the quality of the support that a trainee receives in a school has a real impact on their overall ITT experience.

Teacher training: Should schools be forced to offer ITT?

"And if you force schools to offer ITT placements when they don't want to, then the likelihood is that the quality of support that somebody receives in a school would not be that high. And that would have an impact on the trainee. So it's something that we continually look at, and we prod it and probe it in lots of different ways.

"But there is that fundamental tension at the heart of it, which is we all want to ensure a good quality experience for trainees, and that forcing schools to deliver ITT could mean that that would not be the case for some trainees, where the schools weren't that committed to ITT."

The government was advised earlier this year to consider whether there was value in "mandating schools to play an active part" in teacher training.

In a policy briefing for the DfE, universities and school-based teacher trainers suggested that a new group of government advisers discuss the prospect of Ofsted judging schools based on whether they offer training placements.

The report, published by the MillionPlus Deans of Education Network and the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), and backed by UCET, called on the DfE to convene a "cross-sector advisory group" to formulate a national plan for teacher training, addressing issues created or amplified by the coronavirus outbreak.

The DfE said at the time that it would "explore the recommendations made in the report with the sector in due course".

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