Borderline teacher-training institutions were warned today that they face the axe if they fail to improve. The threat came from the Teacher Training Agency which has just published the first performance tables for teacher trainers.
TTA chief executive Anthea Millett said institutions graded "borderline" by the Office for Standards in Education could find official accreditation withdrawn.
The tables provide the first snapshot of the state of teacher training in England, including all OFSTED grades published so far. The TTA uses the grades to allocate places and funding.
Any provider scoring a grade 4 (fail) for any aspect of its training already has to cut course numbers by 50 per cent. If it fails a reinspection, accreditation is withdrawn. So far two providers have been axed. Now the TTA is considering extending the threat to providers who get grade 3s - "adequate but requiring significant improvement" - across the board.
They are currently offered support and advice and reinspected within the year. Ms Millett said: "Should a provider come out with a similar run of 3s again, I think the (TTA) board would want to ask questions as to whether it wants to continue accrediting that place."
Eight secondary courses have so far been marked borderline; their reinspection reports are not out yet.
The unexpected news alarmed providers already unhappy at OFSTED's methodology. Mike Newby, chair of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers, said it could leave some parts of the country without providers at a time when fees were forcing more students to choose courses close to home.
"At a time of crippling crisis of supply, is that sensible?" he said. "The TTA should think very carefully before taking these Draconian measures."
News, 6; Leader, 18, Performance tables, 22-25