Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

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UCET Summer 2020 Newsletter

25 June 2020


This term was again dominated, albeit not exclusively, by Covid 19 related issues, and we are indebted to UCET members for keeping us in touch with developments and with questions that need to be addressed. All communications have fed directly into ongoing discussions we have been having with DfE, OfSTED, the Welsh Government and others, with the results noticeable in subsequent policy announcements.

UCET, NASBTT and other organisations pressed DfE to extend the relaxations made to the ITE requirements for 2019/20 to be extended into 2020/21 and for further adjustments to be made in terms of entry requirements in respect of GSCEs and first degrees. Although requirements relating to the number of days that student teachers spend in school already include a degree of flexibility (because the requirement reacts to programme design rather that to actual days spent in school) other relaxations are needed to allow ITE providers to respond flexibly to new and changing circumstances.

A particular issue is that of the likely shortage of school placements next year. A survey of UCET and NASBTT members found that:

  • 124 ITE providers had at least some of their schools withdraw from partnerships in 2020/21
  • 84% of providers were concerned about placement availability in 2020/21
  • 45% had, or were considering, closing recruitment for 2020/21 because of placement difficulties, at a time when the sector is experiencing the biggest increase in ITE applications for many years.

Further details of the survey results can be found in a Schools Week article at:

The following relaxations, following the lobbying undertaken, in respect of 2020/21 were announced on 4 June:

  • The removal of the expectation that trainees train to teach in at least two schools;
  • The removal of the requirement for a trainee to have met the standards across the full and ability range of training, and
  • The removal of the expectation that training programmes cover no fewer than four school years.

Flexibility that gives 2020/21 students until 30 November 2020 to demonstrate they meet the GCSE entry requirements was formally also announced on 4 June, although informally communicated earlier. A decision relating to degree entry requirements is still awaited.

A summary of DFE decisions and advice in relation to ITE and Covid 19 can be found at:

As well as an extension of relaxations made to the ITE requirements into 2020/21, we also argued for financial support to be made available to those students who completed their ITE programmes in 2019/20 but who could not, because of the absence of placement opportunities, be deemed to be on the required trajectory towards meeting the teacher standards. On Saturday 6 June DfE announced that the provision of course extension funding for students and ITE providers in respect of those not on a trajectory to achieve QTS I 201920. Key points include:

  1. £1,300 per month for student teachers for a maximum period of 5 months and a total of £6,500
  2. £750 per student teacher for providers for a maximum of 4 months and £3,000.

Full guidance can be found at:

We are grateful to all our colleagues who responded to the various UCET surveys we carried out since lockdown began. The results can be found at:

We are planning a further survey on institutional plans to re-structure programmes next year through, for example, the front-loading of taught components, and the delivery of more blended and on-line learning and the re-timing of school placements.

In the normal course of events, UCET members would have been planning for the introduction of the new OfSTED inspection framework from January next year (UCET’s response to the consultation can be found at: and the introduction, in an appropriately critical way, of the Core Content Framework in September 2020. We have argued strongly that ITE providers and their partner schools have more important priorities at the moment than to engage with these, albeit important, issues and asked for both of them to be delayed by at least 12 months. In the event, it has been confirmed that both will go ahead to normal timescales, although the new inspection framework does acknowledge that it might not be possible to fully deliver ambitious new ITE curricula. We do not think this rather modest flexibility goes far enough, and our advice to the membership is to do what they can in respect of planning for the new frameworks, but not at the expense of addressing more important priorities. A copy of our full statement can be found at:

The Government has confirmed that plans for national roll-out of the Early Career Framework in September 2021 will go ahead, following on from this year’s pilots. While we welcome the overdue focus on early professional development for new teachers, we would have preferred that funding was made available to accredited ITE providers to allow them to provide informed tailored early CPD support to those graduating from their ITE providers. Also on CPD, we were pleased to circulate resources kindly made available by the Chartered College to support new teachers.

We are grateful to everyone who contributed to discussions about the new UCET strategy, which will guide us through the next five years. The strategy document, which draws heavily on the work of the Intellectual Base of Teacher education Group, can be found at: Following from the new strategy, UCET is in the process of establishing a cross-sector group comprising all key players from across education to discuss the content, shape and structure of teacher education as we move into a new era. We will keep UCET members fully informed about the work of the group once it has been established.

In Wales, USCET has been meeting regularly with colleagues from the Welsh Government, Estyn and the EWC and these discussions have led directly to the issuing of two pieces of government advice about the ITE requirements and accreditation criteria, which can be found at: and We have also written to the minister to request the extension of flexibilities into 2020/21 an