Ofsted should delay the introduction of its new teacher training inspections by at least a year in light of the coronavirus crisis, universities have said.
Teacher trainers should instead be given time and space to focus on student wellbeing, according to the Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers (Ucet).
In its official response to Ofsted's consultation on the new initial teacher training (ITT) inspection framework, Ucet said "in the light of the current Corona crisis", the introduction of the proposed changes should be delayed "until September 2021 [at] the earliest".
The new framework was originally set to be published this summer, and implemented from September 2020.
James Noble-Rogers, executive director of Ucet, said: "We would...ask that in the light of the current Corona crisis that ITE [initial teacher education] providers be given more time to prepare for the introduction of the new framework.
"Their focus at the moment is on the wellbeing of student teachers and ensuring that schools have the teachers they need next year.
"The introduction of the new framework should be delayed until September 2021 [at] the earliest."
The National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (Nasbtt) also said in its consultation response that "many partnerships may be restricted from being able to adequately plan for a new inspection framework whilst their energies are directed towards supporting schools and trainees through unchartered waters".
While it did not "necessarily" propose that the timescale should be adjusted, Nasbtt recommended that a paragraph should be added to the existing text, similar to the following statement in the school inspection handbook: "Inspectors will bear in mind that developing and embedding an effective curriculum takes time, and that leaders may only be partway through the process of adopting or redeveloping a curriculum.
"If leaders have an accurate evaluative understanding of current curriculum practice in their school and have identified appropriate next steps to improve curriculum quality and develop curriculum expertise across the school, inspectors will evaluate ‘intent’ favourably when reaching the holistic quality of education judgement."
Asked if it had any plans to delay the introduction of the new framework, or would consider making the recommended changes to the text, Ofsted said: "We know this is a very challenging and uncertain time for ITE partnerships.
"We plan to publish the new ITE inspection framework in the summer term to give providers as much time as possible to familiarise themselves with it.
"By then – and through discussions with the DfE – we may be able to clarify when routine ITE inspections will resume.
"We are in unprecedented times and the situation is developing at pace.
"We will, therefore, keep the timing under regular review. We will, of course, consider all responses to the formal consultation carefully."