Press release

Bolster placements to boost teacher education, says MillionPlus

17 Nov 2021

Ahead of a House of Lords debate on the role of universities in teacher education today (18 November), MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, is publishing a policy briefing, calling on the government to take steps to bolster the critical role of placements within the initial teacher education (ITE) ecosystem.

Supply and demand – why high quality placements are critical to the future of ITE, written with the assistance of the MillionPlus Deans of Education network, highlights the importance of school-university partnerships in delivering placements, outlines the ongoing issues and explores steps that might be taken to remove roadblocks and increase placement capacity.

MillionPlus calls on the government to:

  • Seek to ensure that engaging with ITE, and its many benefits, is viewed as a core part of what schools do
  • Promote ways to better recognise the value of mentoring
  • Generate more and better data on placements across England
  • Focus more on practical work to boost placements and less on unnecessary and unhelpful structural reform
  • Increase funding to help more schools engage with ITE and build successful partnerships

Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, Chair of MillionPlus and Vice-Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, said:

“Placements, and the partnerships forged between universities and local schools which facilitate them, are critical to the teacher education model in England. Currently, however, supply barely keeps up with demand. For many schools, still dealing with Covid-19 and its aftershocks, and with an eye on the next inspection, taking trainees on placements is a financial and administrative burden too far. This is one of a number of factors leading to huge variability across regions in the number of placements available. This situation benefits no one.

“The recommendations outlined in this timely report would go along way to boosting the esteem and capacity of placements in England. Unlocking this capacity would make a more material difference for teacher education provision than any review ever could. Schools need to see the benefits of engaging, universities must continue to innovate, and the government should acknowledge the immense value of partnership work and place ITE as centrally as it can in its strategy for the future.”


Notes to editors

  1. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 3927 2916 or email
  2. Supply and demand – why high quality placements are critical to the future of ITE is attached to this email and available online here
  3. The MillionPlus response to the ITT Market Review is attached to this email and also available online here
  4. The main focus of the MillionPlus Deans of Education (DoE) Network is on teacher education policy in England, and the crucial role of modern universities in delivering Initial Teacher Education. The network meets with Department for Education officials regularly, with a formal all-member meeting every three months. The network also shares good practice and formulates policy through regular topical workshops and has formed strong working relationships with key stakeholders in the sector such as UCET, NASBTT and Ofsted
  5. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities in the UK, and the voice of 21st century higher education. We champion, promote and raise awareness of the essential role and impact of modern universities in the UK’s world-leading higher education sector. More information can be found at
  6. What are modern universities? Modern universities are long established centres of higher education in their communities with roots that stretch back decades, if not centuries. Many gained university title following legislation agreed by parliament in 1992. They make up almost half of the UK university sector with over a million students studying at modern universities every year.
  7. Modern universities: facts and stats