Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

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MillionPlus Policy Briefing: The Future of Initial Teacher Education: Living in the age of Covid-19 and beyond

30 July 2020

It is undeniable that the coronavirus pandemic has
thrown education providers across the globe into
crisis. In the UK, alongside the NHS, the education
sector has been at the forefront of the fight against
the impact of the virus over the last few months and
we believe that education is also the answer to the
UK’s post-Covid-19 recovery and renewal.

The initial teacher education (ITE) sector has
responded positively to the challenges posed
by the pandemic both at its height and as the UK
eases out of national lockdown. These successes
have only been possible through collaboration at
every level, both local and national. This spirit of
co-operation can be developed as the UK moves
from a state of emergency to a time of emergence
while maintaining a robust, high-quality and
successful ITE system. It is with this aim that we
publish this joint briefing.

The impact of Covid-19 on schools has been unlike
anything the UK has seen before, and it is unlikely
that there will be a substantial return to ‘normal’,
even in a purely logistical sense, in the months or
even years ahead. Nobody expects the Department
for Education (DfE) to have all the answers in a
situation so fast moving, and we believe pooling
collective expertise and experience is the best way
to protect students and ensure the flow of new
entrants to the profession.

As major representative organisations for ITE
providers across England, MillionPlus and the
National Association of School-Based Teacher
Trainers (NASBTT), with the help and support of the
Universities Council for the Education of Teachers
(UCET), have all come together to propose
a cross-sector advisory group to lead on the
development of a DfE National ITE Response
Plan for the years ahead. This plan will ensure that
the necessary steps are taken to provide support
and structure that will deliver high-quality ITE in a
changed world. During the pandemic these bodies
have worked closely with government, linking policy
officials with expert advice and guidance, as well as
offering real-time feedback. We believe this work
has been of enormous benefit to schools across the
country and could serve as a guide to how future
work could, and should, be undertaken.

This crisis will have short, medium and long-term
issues for us all to address, and getting ahead of
them will be critical. For the rest of 2020 and for
2021, schools will be very different places, and the
needs of these schools, and the trainee teachers
placed within them, will also be different. Exceptional
times call for new ways of thinking and we believe
we need to think about these changes now, and
work on making them an effective reality, so that
together we are able to deliver an ITE system that
is future-proofed and has the very best interests