How the SCITTs have fared so far

27th February 1998 at 00:00
Growing numbers of school-centred teacher-training courses are falling foul of the inspectors. Jo Gardiner reports


The Mill Hill Consortium, North London

Course judged unsatisfactory overall. Quality of training inadequate in English, history and geography. Students showed serious shortcomings in their ability to assess pupils. The OFSTED report says that "significant weaknesses in the course derive from the difficulty the consortium has had in recruiting partner schools". Inspectors also comment that none of the partner schools seemed to know what the others were doing.

Cumbria Primary Teacher Training

First inspected in 199596, Standards of students' teaching unsatisfactory in a quarter of lessons. Training in English, particularly the teaching of reading, unsatisfactory, though maths and art were good. The consortium lacked a common approach to training. Teachermentors needed more guidance about their roles. By the time of the second inspection under the new framework, however, the course had improved and is now complying with the Secretary of State's criteria.

North West Kent Teacher Trainers

Overall quality of students' teaching and professional competence was unsatisfactory. Students were plunged into long blocks of teaching practice before they had developed basic classroom skills. Links between subject training and general teaching skills were weak. Strengths of the course: rigorous marking of students work and good training sessions.

Oxford Consortium

Course found to be unsatisfactory in five key areas (see above).

North Bedfordshire Consortium

Course failing in four key areas. Students aiming to teach English and PE were admitted to the course with poor subject knowledge. Students showed inadequate skills in class management and assessment and tutors were not assessing students' competence adequately. Students had an "unacceptably variable understanding of the standards required by the national curriculum".

Essex Coastal Confederation

Geography only subject inspected so far. The course failed on five out of six aspects on which it was judged. The sixth was judged "adequate but requiring significant improvement". Serious weaknesses in the geography students' competence in subject teaching had not been identified, and the course was therefore passing students who had not reached the proper standard.

Newman Catholic Partnership, Lancashire

Quality of training in design and technology judged unsatisfactory. Too little attention to application of the subject. Only two of the five teachers observed were satisfactory. All other aspects of the course and subjects taught were judged "satisfactory".


The courses that are meeting the Secretary of State's criteria seem to have been given mostly "sound" or "adequate" grades, depending on what inspection framework they were inspected under. Some courses have received "good" grades, but The TES could not find any SCITT that had been awarded a grade one for any aspect of any course.

The Shire Foundation, Bedfordshire

All aspects of this primary course were given the judgement "sound". OFSTED has now redefined this category as "adequate, but requiring significant improvement".

Chiltern Training Group

All six aspects of the RE course judged adequate but in need of substantial improvement. The English course gained a "good" for its selection policy, but all other aspects of the course such as quality of training and subject knowledge were merely adequate. The group's geography course was better, with two "goods" and four "adequates".

Smallpiece North East consortium

All aspects of course judged adequate.

Smallpiece North London consortium

Adequate overall.

Gloucestershire ITT partnership

Mix of satisfactory and good grades overall. Design and technology, inspected separately, was good.

West Midlands Consortium

PE course was inspected and given five "adequate but requiring improvement" grades and one "good" (for admission procedures).

North East Essex Coastal confederation

English course judged "good" overall.

Wandsworth Primary consortium

Primary PGCE course judged "good" overall.

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