We are aware that events currently unfolding around the Coronavirus are causing considerable uncertainty within the sector.
Please be advised that we are working very closely with the DfE in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to provide up-to-date advice and guidance for members.
Useful information and documents
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Here you will find useful information, documents and resources that have been shared by members for members.
Frequently Asked Questions - COVID-19
The DfE recently announced that, from January, staff and pupils will have access to rapid testing to help keep schools and colleges open throughout the spring term. Schools and colleges are asked to note that this guidance includes initial teacher training (ITT) trainees on placement. ITT trainees on placement in schools should be offered tests in the same way as wider school staff. A handbook has been published to help schools and colleges prepare for rapid testing from January.
- How do we recruit to programmes for September 2021?
The DfE have stated:
As everyone stays at home to ease the pressure on the NHS and help save lives, we encourage ITT providers to continue recruiting to ITT courses due to start in the next academic year. Providers should consider how they can adapt their normal recruitment practices to abide by social distancing guidance. For example, providers should consider remote interviews and the removal of any classroom exercises. We will provide further advice and support on managing current trainees and recruitment to new ITT courses in due course.
- How do we complete DBS Checks?
DBS checks can now be carried out remotely.
See the guidance here:
Use a video link to see the required documents and ask for these to be scanned and sent to you by email.
Put a note in your Single Central Register to say you have done this and refer to the above guidance of 19 March 2020 in case the RI at your next inspection is not up-to-date.
See the original documents when the person presents for work after the crisis ends, again noting this in the Single Central Register.
- Obtaining certificates of good conduct from other countries
Should it not be possible to obtain information to confirm the professional ‘standing’ of a teacher, the school may be willing to accept alternative information that is provided in order they can determine suitability e.g. references/testimonials, criminal record information, self-declaration on professional standing. However, this would be a matter for discussion between the individual and the school.
Should it not be possible for the applicant to obtain information that would usually be required by a school, the school may consider that it is reasonable to decide the individual has taken all possible steps to secure the necessary information and that other information provided is sufficient to demonstrate suitability to be employed. However, this would be for the school to determine.
- Has the ITE Inspection Framework been paused or will this still be coming into effect September 2021?
The new framework will take effect from September 2021.
Ofsted has published its new initial teacher education (ITE) framework so that future inspections will focus more on the substance of the ITE curriculum and how well trainees are prepared to teach, and less on outcomes data.
The new inspections will help to make sure that ITE partnerships are focusing on the things that have the most impact on a trainee’s education and, ultimately, the children and young people they teach.
The changes bring ITE inspection in line with Ofsted’s education inspection framework’s (EIF) focus on the quality of the curriculum. The new framework is tailored to the different phases of trainee education, including early years, primary, secondary and further education.
- Salaried Trainees
Salaried trainees are employees and as such subject to the HR decisions of their employing school. Providers may need to consider how they can continue to offer a programme of distance learning which supports the contractual demands placed on the trainee. We would recommend close collaboration with employing schools in order to facilitate continued training and development for the trainee alongside their working responsibilities.
- Is a trainee still on programme if their school is closed?
A trainee can still be said to be ‘on programme’ even if they are unable to attend their placement school. We would recommend that trainees are offered alternative activities which will further their professional development, such as subject knowledge development, academic reading and research, access to online professional development modules, planning and assessment tasks, etc. Trainees may also have opportunities to support virtual learning platforms for their placement schools.
- Will school closures affect trainee funding?
A trainee can still be said to be ‘on programme’ even if they are unable to attend their placement school by continuing professional development, such as subject knowledge development, academic reading and research, access to online professional development modules, planning and assessment tasks, etc. Trainees may also have opportunities to support virtual learning platforms for their placement schools (see the following point).
As the trainee can be shown to be ‘on programme’, normal funding processes are not affected.
- Can virtual teaching be used as evidence?
We would advise that you use your professional judgment to make a decision on whether taking part in a school’s plans for virtual teaching provides your trainees with suitable evidence of progress towards the Teachers' standards. This will depend on what measures individual schools have put in place for their pupils and how this is being managed. It may also depend on how willing individual schools are to include trainee teachers in the planning and delivery of virtual lessons. Providing you have a compelling narrative to show that the experience is fully preparing your trainees to teach, you can organise your programme with a significant amount of discretion.
- Do my trainees still need to complete 120 days in school?
The ITT criteria does not specify a minimum number of days that trainees must spend training in schools. C2.3 is (intentionally) a programme design requirement as follows:
All accredited ITT providers must ensure:
that training programmes are designed to provide trainee teachers with sufficient time being trained in schools (see note 5), early years and/or further education settings to enable them to demonstrate that they have met all the standards for QTS. This means they would typically be structured to include at least the following periods of time to be spent in training in schools, early years or further education settings (see note 6):
- a four year undergraduate programme – 160 days (32 weeks)
- a one, two or three year undergraduate programme – 120 days (24 weeks)
- a secondary graduate (non-employment based) programme – 120 days (24 weeks)
- a primary graduate (non-employment based) programme – 120 days (24 weeks)
- employment-based programme – as determined by the training programme
A provider would not be found to be non-compliant if trainees were to complete their programme without having spent a specific number of days training in schools. The assumption would be that the programme design would not change as a result of an outbreak of Covid-19 limiting school-based training. However, providers would want to ensure that trainees are not put at risk of not achieving the Teachers’ standards as a result of insufficient time being afforded to them in school and/or centre-based training. This might mean that the provider would need to find alternative school-based provision and/or extend programmes for some trainees, particularly those on the pass/fail borderline. Trainees deemed to be meeting the Teachers' standards irrespective of the number of days they have spent training in schools can and should be recommended for the award of QTS. In such circumstances, we would reasonably expect providers to manage such an event through their partnership arrangements, and quality assurance processes.
- Will trainees be graded this year?
There is no formal requirement for providers to grade trainees; this remains at the provider’s discretion. However, grading is being discouraged in the new ITE Inspection Framework so providers may wish to adapt their processes in readiness for this.
Are trainees classed as Critical/Keyworkers?
Student teachers are confirmed as having critical worker status within schools. ITT tutors, however, will not be considered critical workers and providers may want to consider flexibilities in their programmes in the early part of next year to accommodate schools who wish to minimise ‘external’ visitors to their premises.
Further guidance can be found here.
How should I organise external moderation in light of school closures?
C3.4 of the ITT criteria is flexible and does not mandate that external moderators see examples of trainees teaching. Although in normal circumstances this would be best practice. Providers may wish to involve their external moderator(s)at an early discussion stage so the process can be co-designed and remains robust. Involving external moderators at the early stages of decisions around trainees who are ‘on track’ and ‘not on track to meet’ may also help to mitigate against any potential future appeals. Where the external moderator has visited the provision before, this may help them in referring back to the accuracy of previous judgements.
We recognise that securing an external moderator in these times may be difficult, particularly as illness may affect plans already in place. We remind providers that we do have a small directory of member external moderators which can be found here. Members who are available for EM work but have not yet registered for the directory should contact Jhoskins@nasbtt.org.uk.
- What is the impact of school closures on Assessment Only
The DfE have confirmed that in the event of school closures, the 12-week AO limit can be ‘paused’ and restarted once schools opens again.
- Will there be any allowances for candidates on the AO route
This is likely to be left at the provider's discretion. If the provider feels there is sufficient evidence to recommend the individual for QTS, they should do so. There is no formal requirement for school placements as the minimum two years' school experience and the expectation that they will have worked in two schools should have been completed prior to embarking on the AO route.
- Can we conduct AO assessments digitally?
With AO there is no formal requirement for you to carry out your assessments in a particular way so you can adjust your processes to manage this situation as best you can. Providing you are confident the individual has met the Teachers' standards through that final assessment process, you can recommend the individual for QTS.
- Does the government guidance cover EYITT?
This has been our assumption and it has been raised with the DfE; we will seek official confirmation.
- If a NQT misses 30 days or more of their statutory induction due to absences caused by COVID-19, will their induction be automatically extended to account for these absences?
No. We want to reduce disruption caused by the current COVID-19 public health emergency on NQT induction. Subject to parliamentary agreement, we are planning to make regulatory changes to mitigate this. Whilst the length of the induction period should ordinarily be 3 full terms and any absences totalling 30 days or more usually automatically extends this, we plan to change the secondary legislation so that any absence related to the current COVID-19 public health emergency (such as school closures, sickness or self-isolation), will not count towards this limit.
Absences that total 30 days or more, and not related to COVID-19, will continue to cause the induction period to be extended.
- What is the expectation of those NQTs who are still teaching?
We acknowledge that many NQTs are continuing to work in schools in some form despite many schools being closed. Where possible, we would encourage NQTs to continue with their professional development and maintain frequent contact with their induction tutor and/or mentor.
- What happens at the end of the induction period?
Headteachers and appropriate bodies should continue to make a decision on whether a NQT has met the Teachers’ Standards based on their performance throughout their induction. This decision is still to be made at the end of the induction period, which for most would be the end of the academic year regardless of their absence due to the current COVID-19 public health emergency. In line with regular reporting procedures, the Teaching Regulation Agency should be notified of the outcome of induction.
- How will the assessment process work?
Headteachers, induction tutors and appropriate bodies should continue to refer to the NQT induction statutory guidance about the assessment process. The final assessment meeting should remain at the end of the induction period for the majority of NQTs and evidence should continue to be collected if the NQT is still working in schools in some form. This process will be kept under review.
The Teaching Regulation Agency aims to follow existing schedules for collecting outcome data following the end of assessment. The Teaching Regulation Agency will work with appropriate bodies affected by COVID-19 to support them in their data returns.
- How do I know if a NQT has met the Teachers’ Standards if they have not been in school for the full 3 terms?
Headteachers and appropriate bodies should continue to make a decision on whether a NQT has met the Teachers’ Standards throughout the period of their induction, notwithstanding absences due to COVID-19. This may include looking at previous assessment records, discussions with the induction tutors and consideration of non-routine teaching practice during the COVID-19 disruption.
As stated in statutory guidance on NQT induction, the decision about whether a NQT’s performance against the relevant standards is satisfactory upon completion of induction should take into account the NQT’s work context. It must be made on the basis of what can reasonably be expected of an NQT by the end of their induction period within the framework set out by the standards.
- What about NQTs who do not meet the Teachers’ Standards?
If at the end of the induction period there are concerns that a NQT, with absences related to COVID-19, has not achieved the standards, we would encourage appropriate bodies to exercise their discretion to recommend an extension, allowing the NQT further time and opportunity to demonstrate their ability to meet the standards.