Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

UCET Spring newsletter 2023

21 March 2023


The roll-out from the ITE Market Review continued to be the focus of the attention of much of our work in the first few months of 2023. In February, DfE published additional guidance on the formation of partnerships which, amongst other things, makes it clear that delivery partners working with accredited providers will from 2024/25 be able to: directly recruit postgraduate and undergraduate students; be the recipient of student fees; have the scope to co-construct ITE curricula; and, with the agreement of the accredited provider, contextualize the curriculum to meet local needs and circumstances. A copy of the DfE guidance can be found at:. DfE: Additions to partnership guidance (Mar 2023) | UCET. This should be read in conjunction with earlier DfE guidance from December which can be found at: Initial teacher training (ITT): forming partnerships (12th December 2022) | UCET

UCET has held a number of well-attended events to support members through Stage 2 of the accreditation process. These have covered the development of new ITE partnerships (12 January & 2 March); ITE curricula (6 February), mentoring (7 February) and ITAP (28 February & 3 March). In the light of discussions at these events, a series of questions were put to DfE. Answers to the first set can be found at:. UCET ITT stage 2 workshop queries & DfE responses (February 2023) | UCET

Recordings of the events are available to UCET members on request from A summary of areas to be covered through the ITAP component of ITE programmes can be found at: ITAP: summary of subjects (March 2023) | UCET

The parliamentary Education Select Committee has announced an enquiry into teacher supply and training, details of which can be found at: We would urge as many colleagues as possible to respond. UCET will circulate a draft of its evidence before the submission deadline.

DfE have begun the process to review both the Core Content Framework (CCF) and the Early Career Framework (ECF), and UCET is represented on the external reference group for the CCF review. UCET also had a meeting with senior DFE officers to discuss the UCET paper ‘Golden thread or Gilded Cage’, in the context of the ECF review. Members of the UCET CPD forum will be doing further work on the ECF over the coming months.

The work of the UCET Intellectual Base of Teacher Education (IBTE) group is being taken forward under the leadership of Linda La Velle and a number of sub-groups, and it is pleasing to note that the IBTE report is being used by colleagues in the development of their new ITE curricula, including the ITAP components. Please keep an eye out for further developments in this area.

The work of the Post 16 forum has included supporting members prepare for the introduction of the new Diploma in Teaching Qualification (DIT) in 2024/25, which will be the only teaching qualification for the sector that attracts public funding. We have also been working with DfE on the development of process to identify recognised ITE programmes for the sector. We have raised concerns with DfE about the (un-heralded) decision not to pay bursaries to pre-service students at providers with RI or inadequate OfSTED grades for their FES ITE provision and have pointed out the illogical; nature and inequities associated with this. Further clarification is awaited.

The level of applications to ITE programmes, and the number of offers and acceptances, remains a serious cause for concern, with expert analysis from Mark Crowley from Nottingham Trent suggesting that just 67% of secondary places will be filled in 2023/24. We fear that the position could get even worse as the cost-of-living crisis makes it more difficult to recruit and retain students and as schools keep their involvement in ITE under review because of the increased pressures they face, pressures which might increase further with the introduction of the new quality requirements from September 2024. The middle of a teacher supply crisis is clearly not the right time to destabilise the teacher supply base and do things which increase the distances that student teachers have to travel to their partner schools and to accredited ITE providers.

DfE has made a number of changes to the Apply system, partly in an attempt to maximise recruitment. We are sceptical that these changes – increasing the number of apply choices from 3-4 and changing the timing of reference requests – will have much of an impact of recruitment. They will however make life more difficult for providers.

In Wales, we have written to the Welsh Government requesting an urgent review into the overlapping and extremely burdensome regulatory requirements placed on ITE providers by Estyn and the EWC.A copy of the letter can be found at: JNR Letter to Max White, Welsh Government (January 2023) | UCET In Northern Ireland, a sub-group of the UCETNI committee has been established to consider placement issues, while in Scotland, Jackie Mosses continues to represent UCET at meetings of the Scottish Deans of Education Group.

The UCET Equalities sub-group, chaired by Vini Lander, has been going from strength to strength, and meetings between the group and DfE have been arranged. The anti-racism framework ( and the call to action on ITE census information ( are amongst the group’s work that colleagues will be interested in. The work of the Equalities group will be covered in a plenary session at this year’s UCET conference which will take place in Leeds on 13-14 November. Volunteers and suggestions in regards plenary sessions, keynotes and workshops will be welcomed.

We will shortly be consulting with members about the future direction of travel for UCET, including our: vision, mission & strategy; ways of working; membership & governance; and organisational structure. We will be discussing options relating to each of these areas at UCET forums and committees next term.

Also on governance, a number of officer positions will become vacant from 2023/24, including: the chair and vice-chair of CPD forum; the chair and vice chair of ITE secondary forum; the chair and vice chair of the Research & International forum; and some directly elected and co-opted places on the UCET Executive. The process for filling these positions will take place next term. In the meantime, please do get in touch if you have any questions about what the various roles entail.

We are pleased, with NASBTT, to have issued updated guidance in relation to Keeping Children Safe in Education and DBS requirements. A copy of the new guidance can be found at: DBS guidance from UCET & NASBTT (updated March 2023) | UCET. We are grateful to Jackie Moses for leading on this work.

UCET has been representing its members at a range of external events and meetings, and we will be pleased to accept invitations to visit providers and others to discuss our work and what is happening in the field of teacher education. Key events from this term have included: an address at the Pan-London ITE group; presenting at a meeting of the Primary Umbrella Forum, discussions with DfE about data collection and recruitment to ITE; a keynote address to the Westminster Education Forum; and meetings with NFER, NASUWT and NIOT. We are also seeking further meetings with opposition politicians and are discussing ways of engaging collectively with partner organisations with other political parties in the context of an approaching General Election.

Many thanks to you all and have a great Easter and spring.