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Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

OFSTED ITE update (April 2021)

27 April 2021

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Initial Teacher Education Update

April 2021


The Ofsted: coronavirus (COVID-19) rolling update can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ofsted-coronavirus-covid-19-rolling-update. It gives the latest information on Ofsted’s inspection activity across all remits.

The key messages pertaining to ITE currently state: Following extensive discussion with government and stakeholders, we have set out our inspection plans across all our remits for the remainder of the academic year.

For the rest of the summer term, inspection activity will mainly be on site. In the notification call before an inspection, providers and inspectors will agree safety measures to ensure the inspection is COVID-19 secure. Inspectors will also take a lateral flow test before arriving at the setting.

Ofsted’s ITE inspections will start from 4 May. These will be carried out in line with the new ITE inspection framework, published in the summer term 2020

We will inspect in a safe, sensitive and sensible way.

ITE Inspection Handbook
Summary of changes - April 2021

This section outlines changes we have made to the ITE inspection framework and handbook, which were published on 19 April 2021. This does not include corrections or changes made to improve clarity in how the framework is written.
  • Page 6, paragraph 14 – a new footnote reference has been included, to redirect readers to the published risk assessment methodology for ITE inspections.
  • Page 10, paragraphs 40-45 – a new section on ‘Inspection during the COVID-19 pandemic’ has been included. This section provides clarity around inspection practice in the COVID-19 context, such as expectations around on-site inspections and the inspection preparation discussions.

  • Page 19, paragraphs 77 and 80 – new references to the point-of-inspection trainee and staff surveys that are introduced under the new framework.

Ofsted's ITE Research

A huge thank you to all the partnerships who participated in the Ofsted ITE research during the spring term. We hope that you found the experience productive and developmental.

In total, we visited remotely 75 partnerships across all regions, phases, sizes and routes.

The focus of the research was two-fold:

  • To build a national picture of how the ITE sector has responded to COVID-19.
  • To look at how partnership leaders have ensured and assured the quality of the ITE curriculum. On primary and secondary programmes, this included how leaders had integrated in full, the Core Content Framework (CCF) within their ITE curriculum.

Currently, the Ofsted research team is evaluating the gathered evidence and preparing the draft report. This will be published during the summer term.

Please see below an important message from the DfE.

Help the Department for Education (DfE) design a new international teaching qualification

DfE is now consulting industry experts and stakeholders on our proposals for a new international teaching qualification: International Qualified Teacher Status (iQTS). You can find the consultation online here.

DfE’s draft proposals set out the following aims for the new qualification. iQTS should:

  • be delivered by accredited English initial teacher training providers
  • meet English standards for initial teacher training

  • be accessible to trainees in a range of international settings
  • become globally recognised as an international teaching benchmark

  • equip successful candidates to work both in their domestic and the wider international market
  • be customisable to suit local expectations and needs

DfE’s public consultation seeks your views on:
  • where the highest demand for this qualification might be – for example which countries or regions, and which types of school (e.g. British international schools versus local state schools)
  • the required standards, entry criteria and course content for the development of iQTS

  • whether ITT providers have capacity or interest in designing and delivering this new qualification
  • any other aspect of iQTS detail, delivery, benefits and potential issues

Get involved
You can participate in DfE’s public consultation online, or via email/post. We’ll also be holding virtual round tables running until the end of April 2021 if you’d like to find out more or ask any questions. You can register for these events here.

The public consultation will run for 12 weeks from 6 February 2021. Later in the year, we’ll share our findings and next steps.

Other useful links

Higher education providers: coronavirus (COVID-19) – updated 13 April 2021 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-reopening-buildings-and-campuses

School workforce guidance: schools’ document – updated 6 April 2021 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#school-workforce

Coronavirus (COVID-19): initial teacher training (ITT) - updated 20 April 2021 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-initial-teacher-training-itt

Teacher Recruitment Bulletin - updated 11 October 2019

The aim of Ofsted’s Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Update is to provide