Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

UCET Summer 2023 newsletter

27 June 2023


Welcome to the final UCET newsletter of what has again been a tumultuous academic year. The ITE Market Review continued to be the focus of much of our attention. Discussions with DfE have been ongoing since the review process began, operating in tandem with outward facing activities, including meetings with opposition politicians and media activity. Guidance on the development of new ITT partnerships issued in May was to some extent encouraging in that it confirmed that lead partners can, with the agreement of the accredited provider, recruit direct through Apply and, if they are registered with the OfS, be the recipient of student fees. There is also scope for delivery partners to co-construct ITE curricula and, again with the agreement of the accredited provider, contextualise the curriculum to reflect local needs and circumstances. The extent to which such contextualisation is feasible is however unclear. Much will depend on how OfSTED interprets things. The guidance from DfE can be found at: along with information about the various ITE reform grants that are available.

Discussions about the formation of new partnerships between accredited and non-accredited providers have been progressing, and we have pointed out to DfE the complexities and challenges associated with discussions of this kind. UCET has been speaking with members on a one-to-one basis and have renewed the invitation to accredited providers who might be interested in partnership discussions to get in touch. We stand ready to offer any support as required. Accredited providers have been submitting material to DfE as part of stage 2 of the accreditation process and most accredited providers have been required to submit additional materials. All accredited providers should have had contact with their DfE associates and partnership advisors and we would welcome feedback on how these relationships are developing. Finally on the Market Review, we will be holding another workshop on 29 June to give colleagues the opportunity to discuss ITAP, mentoring, curriculum development and partnerships.

Recruitment to ITE is seriously problematic, as the latest analysis from our colleague Mark Crowley shows: data suggests that the best we can probably expect is 50% of the overall secondary target to be met by this September. Three subjects will meet or exceed target and 14 subjects will recruit to less than 80% of the DfE target for the subject. Primary targets should be met, but only because the target has fallen. The Permanent Secretary of DfE wrote to all providers in May expressing, amongst other things, concern about the time taken to process applications and the number of automatic rejections. After the letter was sent, we did point out to DfE the pressures faced by providers, pressures that were increased by recent changes to the Apply system.

Recruitment will be one of the key foci of the parliamentary Select Committee enquiry into teacher recruitment, training and retention. A copy of UCET’s written evidence, which covers recruitment, financial incentives, programme content, CPD and the implications of the Market Review can be found at:

DfE issued on 19 May advice about the positive contribution that SEND schools can have in regards to ITE, encouraging providers to place students in special schools for parts of their placement experiences. A key change includes the stipulation that placement experiences can reference the developmental rather than the chronological age of children, so on a 3-7 programme the requirement will be that students have experience of children with a developmental rather than a chronological age of 3-7. A copy of the guidance can be found at:

Other DfE guidance covered the procedures for the withdrawal of accreditation which state that providers who receive consecutive negative OfSTED grades under the current framework but who are accredited to deliver ITE from September 2024 will be allowed to do so, although they will be subject to inspection again early in the new cycle. A copy can be found at; Initial teacher training (ITT): provider closure and withdrawal of ITT accreditation - GOV.UK (

The DfE has launched a review of the ECF and the CCF, and UCET is represented (with some other HEI colleagues) on the External Reference Group. A copy of UCET’s evidence, which identifies duplication, lack of contextualisation and key omissions from the ECF, can be found at: News: CCF and ECF refresh: call for evidence | UCET. The UCET CPD forum has been carrying out further work, building on its excellent: ‘ECF, golden-thread or gilded cage’ report, using ‘track-changes’ to set out in detail omissions and possible improvements that could be made to the ECF. OfSTED published a report on the early professional development of teachers which found, amongst other things, that poor-quality training and increased workload is hampering progress - Initial Teacher Training: special schools and alternative provision - GOV.UK (

The work of the reconvened IBTE group, chaired by Linda La Velle, continues and meetings of its different theme groups (Responsible Professionals; Engaging in Enquiry Rich Practice; Epistemic Agents; and Competent and Confident Professionals) have taken place. We look forward to receiving regular reports in the months ahead.

On teacher education for the FE and skills sector, guidance on the bursaries issued by DfE to some pre-service students included a condition that they would not be paid to students attending programmes at providers with OfSTED grades of RI or inadequate. UCET pointed out has that: it would penalise prospective teachers with only one choice of provider; it is inequitable because different providers have grades awarded under different inspection frameworks; and it is inconsistent with the QTS sector, where any consequences of negative OfSTED judgements only apply if a re-inspection also leads to an ’inadequate’ or ‘RI’ rating. Students who are already on, or who have accepted the offer of a place at the time when the OfSTED judgement was published, will have their bursary eligibility protected. Following discussions with DfE about the bursary changes, it transpired that the OfSTED remit only extends to provision that is either delivered directly by the HE provider or by a partner college under a franchise arrangement. Validated provision is not in scope as far as an HEI’s provision is concerned. These policy developments, including information on programme titles and requirements, and student support eligibility, can be found in the much anticipated DfE ‘expectations’ document published in May and which can be found at: Expectations for the Delivery of ITE for FE.

In Wales, we have written again to the Welsh Government, Estyn and the EWC expressing concern about the unrealistic and unsustainable regulatory burdens being placed on ITE providers and asking Welsh Government to respond to our request for a strategic review of how ITE is regulated in Wales. A copy of the letter can be found at: In Northern Ireland, key areas of discussion have included: the accreditation of ITE programmes, with constructive suggestions being made by members of UCETNI, and the apparent over-reliance on teachers trained in other parts of the UK, and in a non-NI context, and the implications this has for ITE allocations and for early professional development. In Scotland, JNR was delighted to attend the launch of the Measuring Quality in Initial Teacher Education report, which is the result of a six-year government funded study involving all 11 ITE providers and the GTCS. A copy of the report, which will be the subject of a session at the November UCET conference, can be found at: News: Measuring Quality in Initial Teacher Education: final report (April 2023) | UCET.

Following discussions at the UCET Executive, UCET committees and symposia have been considering proposed changes to the governance of UCET and some constitutional changes have been agreed. These include membership of UCET being restricted to HEIs; the number of co-opted places on the Executive Committee being reduced from 5 to 3; and the number of elected places from 4 to 2. The Management Forum will be reconstituted as the ‘UCET Assembly’ with a key role in identifying issues for discussion by the Executive.

The composition of the UCET Executive will change from September 2024. The current Chair Kevin Mattinson will stand down after three years and more than a decade’s service to UCET through various positions, including Management Forum Chair, elected executive member, Vice Chair of UCET and Chair Elect. We owe Kevin a huge debt for his service to the UCET community over what has been a hugely challenging period. Kevin, you can take a well-deserved bow. We welcome new Chair, Stefanie Sullivan, who will do an equally outstanding job in partnership with Vice-Chair Lisa Murtagh. Also leaving the Executive, with our profound thanks, are Hazel Bryan (R&I Chair); James Nelson (UCETNI Chair); Elaine Sharpling (USCET Cymru Chair); Paul Vare (CPD Chair); Jenny Wynn (ITE secondary chair); SRG representatives Jake Capper, Spencer Hennessey and Margaret Mulholland; elected members Pat Black, Clare Brooks, Sean Cavan and Rachel Lofthouse; and co-opted members: Caroline Daly; Vini Lander and David Littlefair. The process for appointing new elected Executive members and co-opted members will begin soon.

This year’s UCET conference will, as previously announced, take place at The Queen’s Hotel in Leeds on 14-15 November. Keynote and plenary sessions will include: the work of the UCET Equalities sub-group; Katherine Burn, Leeds Learning Alliance; Una Meehan; Nick Sorensen; Clare Brookes; and David James. Please register now to avoid disappointment at:

Wishing you all a restful summer.


June 2023