Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)
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Raising expectations for teacher training

Ofsted publishes proposals to revise the framework for initial teacher education

Ofsted is proposing to raise expectations of providers of teacher training to help ensure that more trainees are better prepared with the practical skills that teachers need most, such as the ability to manage behaviour and teach reading effectively.

Yesterday Ofsted published its consultation on proposals to revise arrangements for the inspection of initial teacher education (ITE), which will be introduced from September 2012.

Feedback on the current inspection arrangements, which have been in place since September 2008, has been positive but also suggests the need to continue to raise expectations. This means drawing up clearer, more challenging criteria with fewer, more streamlined judgements and one overarching judgement for overall effectiveness. Ofsted is also seeking views on reducing the eight-week notice period for an inspection to three weeks.

Launching the consultation, Miriam Rosen HMCI said:

“The quality of teaching is an essential element in any school so the selection and training of the next generation of teachers is crucial. We hope that changes to the way we inspect initial teacher education will enable inspectors to focus even more on the things that are important: teaching pupils to read, behaviour management and trainees’ ability to teach a range of learners, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

“Inspection helps to raise standards and ensure the best training is provided. We want more trainees to become good or outstanding teachers and gain employment in schools. This is why, in the new arrangements, we want to focus inspection more on observing current and former trainees in the classroom.

“I’d like to encourage anyone with an interest in initial teacher education, in particular those who provide training, are currently in training, or thinking of joining a teacher training programme, to tell us their views.”

Building on the strengths of the current arrangements, the consultation proposes that inspections will look more closely at the selection of trainees and the quality of partnerships ITE providers have with settings, schools and colleges. It will focus even more on the quality of training and trainees’ subject knowledge and their understanding and competence in developing pupils’ literacy skills, including using systematic phonics to teach reading.

Ofsted is also considering incorporating a thematic element into inspections, on a rolling programme, in order to gain more evidence on the effectiveness of training to teach specific subjects and aspects such as managing behaviour.

The consultation proposes a more proportionate approach to inspection that is informed by a robust risk assessment process so inspections can be targeted where improvement is needed most. Partnerships previously judged to be satisfactory will be inspected at an early stage in the new cycle and those that continue to be satisfactory will be subject to a monitoring inspection, which will take place 12–18 months after the inspection. A full inspection is likely to take place within three years of the previous inspection.

From September 2012 Ofsted proposes that initial teacher education inspections will also:

  • retain the focus on trainees’ outcomes at the heart of the inspection
  • be underpinned by clear and more challenging criteria for judging partnerships to be outstanding or good
  • take account of the views of users, trainees and former trainees, including newly qualified and recently qualified teachers
  • use an on-line questionnaire to gather the views of trainees
  • integrate judgements on equality and diversity throughout the report, including reporting on the performance of different groups of trainees
  • introduce a focused monitoring inspection; for example, to look at the provision of phonics training where newly qualified teacher feedback raises concerns 
  • continue to involve leaders, managers, tutors, mentors, trainees and former trainees in discussions during an inspection
  • continue to take account of a partnership’s self-evaluation
  • continue to drive improvement in the sector by providing an external evaluation of strengths and weaknesses.

The proposals take into account feedback from providers, inspectors and other stakeholders with an interest in ITE. The new arrangements will reflect government changes, including the proposals highlighted in the schools’ White Paper 2010 The importance of teaching, which are now being incorporated into a new Education Bill, and the Department for Education’s improvement strategy document Training our next generation of outstanding teachers.

The consultation runs from 31 October 2011 until 31 January 2012.

Notes to editors

  1. The consultation for the framework for the inspection of initial teacher education can be found on the Ofsted website at www.ofsted.gov.uk
  2. The Education Act 2005 provides the remit for Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector (HMCI) to inspect initial training of teachers for schools and, when requested by the Secretary of State, a duty to do so. The Post-16 Education and Training Inspection Regulations 2001 extended the remit of HMCI to cover the inspection of any publicly funded training of further education teachers. These remits were reinforced within the Education and Inspections Act 2006. As a result, the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) is responsible for conducting inspections of all providers of training programmes leading to qualified teacher status (QTS) for teaching in maintained schools, and of further education teacher education programmes validated by higher education institutions (HEIs).
  3. The schools’ White Paper, The importance of teaching, 2010 can be found here on the Department for Education website at www.education.gov.uk
  4. The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children's social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.
  5. Media can contact the Ofsted Press Office through 020 7421 6899 or via Ofsted's enquiry line 0300 1231231 between 8.30am - 6.30pm Monday - Friday. Out of these hours, during evenings and weekends, the duty press officer can be reached on 07919 057359

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