30 Mar 2021
Commenting on the announcement that Ofsted will resume initial teacher education (ITE) inspections from 4 May, MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, has today (30 March) called for the decision to be reviewed, warning that this approach could risk damaging the trainee teacher pipeline if schools hold off on placing trainee teachers until September.
Dr Greg Walker, Chief Executive of MillionPlus, said:
“Inspections are an important part of any quality-assurance system. Through our Deans of Education Network, MillionPlus members, leaders in ITE, have been in dialogue with Ofsted throughout the past year. They have fully engaged with Ofsted's research work, highlighting not just the quality of university-led ITE but also its resilience and ability to innovate under the most challenging of circumstances.
“Those circumstances, however, have certainly not gone away. We are concerned that plans to return to ITE inspections in May could potentially come too soon for them to be fair and accurate. We also have serious concerns that this announcement, and the divergence from the schools inspection timeframe, may lead some schools to be wary of taking students on placements until next term.
“This would be a serious issue for providers across the country and for the teacher pipeline. Our members have worked tirelessly with schools to ensure all placements are conducted as safely as possible and we are concerned that full inspections may make some very uncomfortable.
“We hope that Ofsted reviews this decision, and appreciates the extraordinary challenges that providers and schools currently face. Should they go ahead, guidance on exactly how any ITE inspections are going to take place should be published immediately.
“We want inspections to be as robust as possible, and we want the highest quality ITE system across the country, but we can only do this if we fully appreciate the challenges we all face and work together in the best interest of trainees and the teacher pipeline.”
Notes to editors