Teacher training providers keen to explore future training options


Initial teacher training providers could deliver placements virtually and ask schools to provide trainee opportunities, having called on the government to urgently support the sector.

According to a new policy paper from three training providers, a recovery plan is needed to avoid disruption to initial teacher training across England.

Among the options, they would like to see considered is the possibility of offering training virtually and of mandating schools to offer placements.

It follows reports that several schools across the nation have pulled out of offering training placements as they consider how they will operate following the coronavirus pandemic.

The report from the National Association of School-Based Teacher Training (NASBTT), Million Plus – the association for modern universities in the UK – and the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers has outlined an array of potential options.

“Exceptional times call for creativity, innovation and closer collaboration,” the report states. “We believe that the scale of the current crisis presents enormous challenges to ITE; however, we also believe these challenges can be met and that quality provision can still be assured across the country.”

Another option could see initial training education included as an Ofsted criteria for schools, with the providers calling for a national plan which will “create a blueprint that would inspire confidence and would deliver for the sector”.

The report asks whether schools play a more “active role” to provide a greater number of placements or if there are other ways to incentivise them to do so.

However, the director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, Julie McCulloch, has questioned whether such an approach would have the desired results.

“For ITE to be effective, it must be a positive exercise, in which schools have the capacity and resources to provide high-quality placements, rather than being something forced upon them regardless of the circumstances,” she explained.

It’s also necessary to explore how virtual learning can be used to the benefit of trainees and whether it would need to be included within the teacher standards.

According to a spokesperson for the Department for Education, the department is already working with the sector to assess future training needs, while the latest recommendations are set to be explored “in due course”.