Parliamentary Briefing

MillionPlus leads cross-sector call for a national recovery plan in Initial Teacher Education

29 Jul 2020

Amid the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, and the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT) have today (29 July) come together to call on the ​Department for Education to convene a sector-wide advisory group to formulate a national Initial Teaching Education recovery response. 

The latest policy briefing, The future of Initial Teacher Education: Living in the age of Covid-19 and beyond, co-authored by the MillionPlus Deans of Education Network, NASBTT and with the support of UCET, recommends: 

  • Department for Education to convene a cross-sector advisory group to formulate a National ITE Response Plan, outlining an overarching set of principles focused on short-term and long-term issues on three key core areas of ITE: safety, high-quality placements and recruitment and retention.  
  • ITE stakeholders to work together to develop best practice guidance on maintaining a high-quality educational experience for applicants and trainee teachers during the recovery from the pandemic.  
  • Department for Education to work with the sector to encourage more schools to play an active part in ITE.  
  • Department for Education to work with the sector to ensure mechanisms are in place to support trainees and NQTs at this challenging time, with further bespoke support in place to aid the retention of teachers including the review of bursaries, subject knowledge enhancement courses and a bespoke NQT settlement.  
  • Department for Education to harness and resource the expertise and capacity of ITT providers to boost the availability of crucial high-quality mentoring work. 

Dr Greg Walker, Chief Executive of MillionPlus, said: 

“If the Covid-19 crisis has taught us anything it is that we rely on our key public service workers more than we could have ever previously appreciated. As well as doing invaluable work in their own right, by keeping schools open for the children of key workers, teachers have indirectly kept doctors and nurses in hospitals, ensured that supermarket shelves were stocked and enabled other vital staff to stay in post. 

“Among other organisations, MillionPlus has long argued that more needs to be done to boost a teaching profession that has long been dogged by under-recruitment and has seen large numbers leave the profession. The Early Career Framework and Recruitment and Retention Strategy were warmly welcome reforms but they were not created with the impact of a global health crisis in mind. Teacher educators and future teachers themselves need guidance and a plan that is relevant to this moment. 

“At a time of unprecedented uncertainty, now is the time to come together and put in place a framework to guarantee a sustainable future of first class ITE.” 

Emma Hollis, Executive Director of NASBTT, said: 

“The ITE sector has successfully responded to the challenges brought about by Covid-19 by placing even greater emphasis on collaboration – and this must continue as we now move forward into the 2020-21 academic year and beyond. We are pleased to be working with MillionPlus and UCET on this policy paper and look forward to the opportunities brought about by the proposed National ITE Response Plan, supporting the Department for Education and the wider sector as we move forward.  

“NASBTT has already declared its priority issues in 2020-21, including tackling the shortage of teacher training placements, engaging more schools in ITE, championing high-quality mentoring, subject knowledge enhancement, mental health and wellbeing, and tuition fees. A co-ordinated approach can only support our own organisational objectives in delivering positive change for the sector.” 

James Noble-Rogers, Executive Director of UCET, said:

“It is essential that during this pandemic everyone involved in ITE works together. ITE providers are well placed to meet the needs of student teachers, schools and pupils through academically robust and practical teacher education. As the paper makes clear, ITE providers must be given the professional autonomy to deliver teacher education programmes that meet the needs of their students and the schools they work with. Normal regulatory requirements, such as OFSTED inspections, must for the time being take a back seat.” 


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. NASBTT is a registered charity committed to promoting high-quality schools-led programmes of training, education and professional development of teachers. NASBTT represents and draws on the collective experience of SCITT providers, School Direct Lead Schools, Teaching Schools and HEIs as well as a range of other organisations involved in the education and professional development of teachers. 
  4. The Universities Council for the Education of Teachers acts as a national forum for the discussion of matters relating to the education of teachers and professional educators, and to the study of education in the university sector and contributes to the formulation of policy in these fields. Its members are UK universities involved in teacher education, and a number of colleges of higher education in the university sector. 
  5. The future of Initial Teacher Education: Living in the age of Covid-19 and beyond is available online here 
  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