Trainee teachers will be able to qualify by the end of the academic year, based on their “current trajectory of progress”, the government has confirmed.
Trainees on track to meet the teachers’ standards by the end of their course should be recommended for qualified teacher status (QTS), even if they are unable to finish their placements, the Department for Education (DfE) has said.
The announcement follows prolonged pressure on the government from initial teacher training (ITT) leaders, who have been seeking official guidance since education secretary Gavin Williamson spoke about the DfE’s position a week ago.
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Emma Hollis, executive director of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), said the organisation was “relieved” to “finally” receive confirmation from the DfE, “for the sake of future teacher recruitment”.
In a policy statement for all ITT partnerships, the DfE said: "As we ask people to stay at home to reduce the burden on the NHS and help it save lives, we would advise providers to, where possible, continue to deliver their ITT courses online by distributing resources.
“However, we recognise that there will be disruption to ITT courses due to the closure of schools and other institutions.
“Therefore, DfE will enable ITT providers to make judgements on trainees based on assessments already completed and each trainee’s current trajectory of progress towards meeting the teachers’ standards.
“Trainees making progress towards the teachers’ standards should be recommended for QTS, where the ITT provider judges that the trainee would have completed their ITT course successfully.”
The DfE said further guidance will be provided “as soon as possible” for those trainees who were not on track to meet the teachers’ standards by the end of their course.
It also advised ITT providers to continue with their recruitment drive for next year.
“Providers should consider how they can adapt their normal recruitment practices to abide by social distancing guidance,” the DfE said.
“For example, providers should consider remote interviews and the removal of any classroom exercises.”
It added that further advice and support would be issued “in due course”.
Ms Hollis said: “This is the most pragmatic and sensible way forward, recognising the hard work and progress already made by the trainees, while simultaneously protecting the flow of new entrants into the profession for September.
“Additionally, we must recognise the knock-on financial impact on ITT. Some providers are concerned about being able to recruit sufficient numbers for the new academic year.
“We have seen how grants and loans have been made available to businesses, and we now call for similar financial support to be given to ITT providers to help them survive, should this become necessary.”