Returning to full teacher training inspections in May will be a "kick in the teeth" for a sector that has "behaved heroically" during the Covid crisis, providers have warned.
The Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) has said it is "extremely concerned" by Ofsted's decision to resume its initial teacher training (ITT) inspections from 4 May.
The plan is "out of kilter" with the watchdog's approach to inspections in schools and colleges, UCET said, and will be "difficult to manage," given the continued need for social distancing.
Inspections: Teacher trainers get three-month Ofsted reprieve
Ofsted announced today that it will inspect schools and colleges on-site next term "to provide reassurance about how well children and learners are catching up".
The visits will be "lighter touch", with a full programme of graded inspections not beginning until September.
Ofsted ITT inspections 'will be meaningless'
But for ITT providers, full inspections will resume from 4 May, UCET said.
The Ofsted guidance says: "Initial teacher education (ITE) inspections will begin from 4 May. These will be carried out in line with Ofsted’s new ITE inspection framework."
In a written response, UCET said: "The results of any inspections carried out before September will be meaningless because of the disruption that the Covid pandemic is continuing to cause.
"Comparisons between the results of any inspections carried out this term and those carried out next year will not be possible."
UCET executive director James Noble-Rogers said: "This is another kick in the teeth for a sector that has behaved heroically during the pandemic. There is no reason whatsoever for inspections to go ahead in May, earlier than the resumption of other Ofsted inspections.
"They will be disruptive for ITE [initial teacher education] providers and the schools and colleges they work in partnership with."
Ofsted has been approached for comment.