Press release

Summer term ITE inspections risk damaging trainee teacher pipeline, cautions MillionPlus

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

  1. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 3927 2916 or email
  2. 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
  3. Further information on the resumption of Ofsted inspections is available here
  4. More information on the work of the MillionPlus Deans of Education Network is available here
  5. 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. 
  6. Modern universities: facts and stats