Shortly before the end of the school year, the government set out radical proposals for major structural reform to the system of initial teacher training (ITT) in England.
The short timeframe set by the government meant that there was insufficient time for NAHT and sister unions to our consult members. As a result, many school leaders and teachers remain in the dark about the proposals.
The ITT 'market review' proposes to redesign the architecture of teacher training through a system of 'accredited providers' and 'delivery partners'. It would also introduce a system-wide core responsibility for ITT for schools, include 'intensive training' placements in approved schools and require significantly increased responsibility and time commitment from school-based mentors. Central to the plans are a homogeneous approach to the ITT curriculum, its delivery and assessment.
The reaction from the ITT sector has been broadly negative. A number of world-leading institutions including Oxford, Cambridge and UCL have indicated that they may withdraw from initial teacher training if the plans are implemented. Moreover, smaller more localised school-based ITT providers that serve areas not reached by traditional providers have also indicated that they may no longer be able to operate.
During August NAHT responded to the consultation. You can read our response here. We urged the government to halt its plans and to consult fully with the school sector, noting that no case had been made to evidence the need for such far-reaching change. We explained that school leaders and their teams have more immediate challenges and priorities, meaning they lack capacity to support new teacher training responsibilities, or the burdens associated with the proposed changes to mentoring. We were clear that the implementation timetable is unworkable and risks damaging the supply of training places.
NAHT believes that it is essential that the case for change is critically examined. We remain to be convinced of the need for revolutionary change and believe that providers are well placed to deliver further improvement in an already well-performing system. NAHT believes it is crucial that government secure the support of the profession before proceeding with its plans. We are continuing to engage with officials to press that school leaders are fully and properly consulted.
Read our consultation response.
First published 21 September 2021