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Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

ITT delivery for 2020/21: provider approaches and examples


This document has been developed by the sector for the sector, and is intended to act as a helpful guide for Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers by setting out some ideas about how to approach delivery in the current context, together with examples of what some providers are doing already.


The Department for Education has removed the following expectations from the ITT criteria, to ensure providers can use flexibility and creativity to deliver training to next year’s cohort:

The Department has also confirmed that criterion C2.3 is a programme design requirement. Providers will not be found non-compliant if trainees spend fewer than the typical amounts specified for school-based training, as long as programmes are designed to provide trainees with enough training time to demonstrate that they have achieved all the Teachers’ Standards.

The DFE has confirmed that the ITT core content framework (CCF) will be mandatory from September 2020, and on 24 June 2020, Ofsted published their ITE inspection framework and handbook, which includes a transition statement for ITT2020.

On 23 June 2020, the Minister for Schools contacted ITT providers to thank them for their work in responding to the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This document is intended to support providers to utilise the relaxations to the ITT criteria and give providers the opportunity to do things differently whilst ensuring all trainees have a great teacher training experience despite the current challenging context.

Conversations and relationships with schools

On 2 July 2020, the DfE guidance for schools opening in September strongly encouraged schools to consider hosting ITT trainees, and set out how they could play a significant role in supporting schools.

ITT providers have outlined that they are doing the following:

Example 1: Maintaining regular communications

Providers regularly update their website with up to date advice on placements for schools, mentors, and trainees. The text offers reassurance, answers frequently asked questions and is informed by the latest available guidance from the DfE, Public Health England and relevant local authorities.

Example 2: Reassuring schools that their involvement in ITT can develop trainees’ expertise and support school improvement

Providers develop tasks and activities with individual school partners focussed on school needs as well as trainees’ learning and progression, for example:

§ trainee tasks with foci drawn from school improvement priorities are designed to enhance trainees’ subject or curriculum expertise, enabling them to research a curriculum area, create a sequence of lesson plans, explain how this sequence fits into the overall curriculum to support progression. In addition, they can identify the research strategies employed and how these may be applied to other topics or curriculum areas

§ trainees’ existing specialist subject or curriculum expertise is used to create resources and/or online activities in areas where existing school expertise or resources are limited

§ primary trainees work with primary curriculum co-ordinators/subject leaders on curriculum planning and resourcing that will increase trainees’ knowledge of the foundation subjects and support the co-ordinator’s/subject leader’s work.

Example 3: Refreshing contact with partner schools who have withdrawn temporarily from ITT and initiating work with new partner school.

Providers work supportively with past partners and new schools to explain the benefits of involvement in ITT and to design bespoke provider support that enables them to gradually build their engagement in ITT. In secondary schools, departments and staff may be identified whose individual strengths permit strong training provision to be offered in their subject areas; in primary schools, year groups or individual staff with good ITT training capacity may be identified to work with new mentors and to support trainees outside their own class or year group. Trainees can gain rich and broad training opportunities and the schools can benefit from the strengths of trainees and develop their familiarity with ITT training and mentoring.

Placement timing and requirements

ITT providers have outlined that they are doing the following:

Example 1: Creating more fluid and flexible placements

Providers re-shape customary placement patterns to support fewer or a greater number of placements, or to enable placements to stop and restart, be delayed or be re-scheduled at later periods in the training year. Providers monitor trainees’ placement experiences remotely to ensure trainees’ needs are met.

Example 2: Grouping trainees for collaborative learning and teaching

Providers place trainees in pairs, trios, or small groups in a classroom. Here they can collaborate as a team to co-plan, teach and assess learning with each other and their class or subject teacher or mentor, enhancing professional learning and reducing individual workloads of teachers and mentors.

Example 3: Utilising the opportunities available for trainees to develop their wider professional learning

Providers encourage trainees to develop a deeper understanding and practical experience of educational disadvantage, vulnerability, mental health and the families and local communities their school serves, for example by:

· undertaking research for instance utilising the school dashboard, or school records

· working with specialist teachers, such as a SEND lead

· gaining practical experience of a teacher’s professional role by taking wider responsibilities including, for example, those related to safeguarding and hygiene requirements.

Example 4: Attaching trainees to a school

Providers attach trainees to a school for longer than an assessed placement or base trainees in a school for the whole of a training year by:

· placing trainees in a lead primary or secondary school enabling them to work within year groups, subject departments and classroom team bubbles where they can take on progressive responsibility for teaching and learning

· making use of ‘virtual placements’ (where trainees are ‘in school’ but not on the premises) to meet trainees’ needs and create greater flexibility in terms of time spent in school .This approach can be used to support trainees in applying their theoretical knowledge, developing their teaching skills and gaining an enriched experience of a school’s life.

Adapting course design and assessment

ITT providers have outlined that they are doing the following: