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Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

UCET Summer 2022 newsletter

21 June 2022


The results of round 1 of the ITE Market Review applications in England were announced on 16 May. Although the process is only part-way through, the results are nonetheless a disappointment, and contrary to expectations. The accreditation procedure was in our view flawed. Had DfE followed a simple yes/no compliance check, instead of a graded process that inevitably entailed the making of subjective judgements, the results would have been different. The feedback from DfE, which was largely ‘cut and pasted’ from a document bank, also points to inconsistencies in the assessment process and significant misunderstanding on the part of assessors about what was actually being said in bids. A letter received from the minister following a meeting we had immediately after the announcement was made can be found at: Letter from Rt. Hon Robin Walker, MP on ITE Market Review (24 May 2022) | UCET It could have been very different. Before the decisions were announced, UCET made three constructive suggestions to DfE which, if followed, would have gone a long way to securing the teacher supply base, which currently remains under significant threat. The suggestions were: (i) given that the process followed involved subject judgements being made, in the case of any ‘grey areas’ DfE should give providers the benefit of the doubt and use Stage 2 of the process to address any such grey areas; (ii) where providers only narrowly miss the cut, provisionally accredit them and fast-track them through round 2; and (iii) rather than describe unsuccessful applicants as ‘failing’ or ‘not being successful’, instead say that at this stage in the process it has not been possible to accredit. It is only the third, and least important, of these suggestions that DfE chose to listen to.

We have also expressed concern about the apparently heavy handed and ‘policing’ type nature of stage 2 of the process for applicants that were successful in round 1 and have received a response from the minister that the process will be as light touch as possible and that the threat of withdrawal of accreditation during Stage 2 will be removed.

The deadline for round 2 applications is 27 June. Updated FAQ documentation from DfE can be found at: ITE Consultation Engagement 2020: FAQs | UCET. UCET’s approach has been to support member institutions in whatever course of action they intend to take. We are continuing to support and advise those members either applying or reapplying in round 2 and have held a series of five workshops in which people have shared their approaches and successful round 1 applicants provided details of their applications. We are extremely grateful to those of our colleagues who supported these workshops and provided examples of applications. We will continue to support our membership, including those who choose not to seek accreditation and those who choose to take make use of the formal appeals’ process that will follow round 2, or take any other courses of action.

Recruitment to ITE programmes continues to be challenging, and it seems near certain that targets for most, if not all, secondary subjects will be missed. Further details can be found in the NFER report at: https://www.nfer.ac.uk/teacher-labour-market-in-england-annual-report-2022/. The position on school placements, despite some improvement, continues to be challenging with pressures faced by schools, including ECT demands, leading some schools to withdraw or reduce placement offers.

The UCET CPD forum has produced a new paper on the ECF and NPQs which, while acknowledging the strengths of the relevant programmes, has also identified important gaps in what they cover. We are grateful to the sub-group of the CPD forum for writing this.

Progress continues to be made on the development of a new teaching qualification for the FE and skills sector, which from September 2023 will be the only teaching qualification in England that will attract public funding and will be based on the new occupational standards that underpin the new teaching apprenticeship. An Education & Training Foundation (ETF) working group, which includes significant UCET representation, has been drafting a framework, and discussions with DfE, Ofsted and others about its final shape and content are continuing. The new professional standards for teachers in the FE and skills sector have recently been published by ETF. These should apply to all those commencing training in September 2022 (pending the introduction of the new teaching qualification in 2023), with ITE providers given discretion about whether to use the new or existing standards for continuing students. A comparison between the existing and the new standards, with the differences highlighted, can be found on the ETF website at: https://www.et-foundation.co.uk/professional-standards/

The results of REF 2021 were announced in May and showed positive results for education, with all institutions submitting education research receiving at least some 3* or 4* outcomes. Congratulations to all concerned. The Equalities sub-group of the Research & International Forum met on 5 May and discussed: the publication of recent NFER research into the recruitment and progression of student teachers from minority ethnic backgrounds; equalities’ initiatives in regards ITE from the Welsh Government; a draft questionnaire for ITE students, which will be issued at regular intervals and in due course also be sent to qualified teachers; the forthcoming publication of an anti-racism framework for ITE; and an invitation to forum members to contribute to UCL/Brunel research into the racialised experiences of student teachers. Finally on the research front, we were pleased to announce in May that this year’s Gordon Kirk travel scholarship, which is worth up to £2,000, has been awarded to Fufy Demisse of Sheffield Hallam University. Fufy will be visiting the University of Thessaly in Greece to investigate the development and use of curriculum materials.

In Wales, members of USCET are working with Welsh Government, the Education Workforce Council and Estyn to reduce the regulatory burdens placed on ITE providers. In Northern Ireland, UCETNI has submitted advice to the Independent Review of Education, a copy of which can be found at: UCET Northern Ireland: Independent Review of Education report | UCET Also in Northern Ireland, the report on the research into Teachers Professional Learning funded by the Department of education through UCETNI has issued its report and can be found at: Teacher Professional Learning Frameworks report (Northern Ireland): final report (2019) | UCET JNR also attended the termly meeting of the Department of Education’s ITT working group.

2022/23 will see a change in the composition of the UCET Executive Committee and the chairs and vice chairs of forums and committees. We would like to express our thanks to those who will be standing down this year for their outstanding service. They are: UCET Vice Chair (and long-term Executive Committee member) Trevor Mutton; Primary and Early Years Forum Chair Des Hewitt (to whom we send our love and best wishes); UCETNI Chair Roisin Mc Philemy; and co-opted Executive Committee member Jo McIntyre. The new appointees are:

  • UCET Chair Elect: Stefanie Sullivan
  • UCET Vice Chair: Lisa Murtagh
  • Management Forum Chair: Claire E. Ball-Smith
  • Primary & Early Years Forum Chair: Jan Ashbridge
  • UCETNI Chair: James Nelson

It was good to return to some face-to-face meetings this term, with the R&I, UCETNI and CPD forums meeting in person for the first time in over two years, although in some cases this did lead to lower levels of attendance. It is likely that a blended approach to meetings will continue, with each forum and committee deciding the approach that is best for them. The 1-2 November UCET conference will however definitely be face to face in Stratford upon Avon. Keynotes will include: Tim Brighouse & Mick Waters; Gayle Gorman; Alison Peacock; Stefanie Sullivan; and James Williams. It will be the first opportunity for many of us to see our friends and colleagues for some time. We hope that as many of you as possible will be able to attend. Registration is open at; www.ucet/conference.

Other meetings and events that UCET attended on behalf of the membership, in additional to the regular DfE meetings, included: The 2022 TEAN conference; a meeting of the Cathedrals Group of HEIs; UUK’s Teacher Education Advisory Group; the ETF Working Group; ITTAG; the Diversity in ITE group, as well as numerous one to one events.

Wishing you all a restful and enjoyable summer.


June 2022