Consider forcing schools to take trainees, DfE told

Ofsted to potentially judge schools on whether they offer training placements under proposed national plan

Amy Gibbons

Teacher training

The government is being advised to consider whether there is value in "mandating schools to play an active part" in teacher training.

In a policy briefing for the Department for Education (DfE), universities and school-based teacher trainers have 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 today by the MillionPlus Deans of Education Network and National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), and backed by the Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET), calls 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.

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The organisations say the response plan should outline "an overarching set of principles" focused on three key core areas of initial teacher education (ITE), including the provision of high-quality placements.

And, in order to encourage more schools to engage with teacher training, the organisations suggest that the advisory group discuss whether there is "value in considering whether mandating schools to play an active part" in ITE and whether Ofsted should assess "active participation in ITE" in future.

James Noble-Rogers, UCET executive director, told Tes this would mean judging schools on whether they choose to offer student placements.

The report states: "The advisory group could explore how to build on the immediate response and integrate it into a longer-term plan. Perhaps the most pressing question would ask how can we incentivise more schools to play an active part in ITE in the future?

"To secure a greater number of placements of appropriate quality, we need more schools to play an active part in training future generations of the profession.

"The plan should make this a key focus of its work and explore why schools do not engage and then determine how more can be encouraged to do so in the future.

"Is there value in considering whether mandating schools to play an active part could be effective? Should active participation in ITE be a criterion Ofsted assess when inspecting a school in the future?

"We believe these questions, and others like them, would be of value to the profession and could take ITE forward in a positive direction."

A DfE spokesperson said: "We are already working extremely closely with the sector to help us understand the training needs for trainee and newly qualified teachers.

"Our engagement with the sector has increased since Covid-19 so we understand the challenges they may face. We will explore the recommendations made in the report with the sector in due course."

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Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

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