Emma Hollis 2019 1 (003)

As we have already publicly stated, NASBTT fundamentally rejects the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) market review recommendation for all providers to undergo a reaccreditation process and believe it represents a serious threat to teacher supply and the sufficiency of provision.

We believe that existing accredited providers are well placed to deliver the quality reforms set out in the report without the need for widescale structural reform. We recognise that, in some cases, adaptation and collaboration will be needed but are confident that the sector can work in this way and rise to the challenges posed by the recommended approaches to curriculum design and delivery. The report presents no credible evidence that current provision does not have the capacity to deliver the quality reforms.

There are significant risks attached to a process of reaccreditation and no measurable reward we can see that would make taking these risks worthwhile. These risks are wide ranging and, most notably, present a real and immediate threat to the teacher supply chain. The speed at which implementation is being suggested exacerbates this risk enormously and could lead to a catastrophic lack of provision nationally, the decimation of local provision, and the loss of shortage and specialist training routes from ITT.

Specifically, a reaccreditation process runs the risk of losing exceptional providers from the system in one of two ways: it is possible that some ITT providers will simply not have the capacity and resource to be able to dedicate additional time to a burdensome process. The school system is under immense strain, with CEOs and Headteachers making difficult choices about the systems they can continue to support.

The introduction of a reaccreditation process at the same time as the sector is attempting to recover from the pandemic and facilitate the national roll-out of the Early Career Framework, may mean providers simply choose not to submit to an unnecessary process of reaccreditation, with the loss of high-quality providers from the system as a result. Alternatively, providers may attempt to undertake the reaccreditation process but, given the unachievable timescales in which they will have to do so, may fail to meet the requirements of a paper exercise, despite being high-quality ITT providers.

We would further urge the government to set out a fully costed model for the reaccreditation process and consider whether it would represent good value for money given that all accredited providers are already subject to a robust and rigorous quality assurance process. We would also wish to see the plans for where the capacity exists within the DfE to undertake such an enormous process at such short notice and seek to understand how this process will be designed to identify quality ITT provision from a paper-based exercise more effectively than Ofsted are able to do through their full inspection process.

If a reaccreditation process is introduced, the timescale will, in our opinion, pose an enormous threat to the teacher supply pipeline and will also risk the loss of high-quality provision from the system. The quality requirements set out in the market review report are, by the authors’ own admission, ambitious ones. If they are genuinely to be achieved, there will need to be sufficient time and resource provided for curriculum design and development, the development of new partnerships and relationships with key stakeholders and robust internal quality assurance measurements. The current proposals allow just five months for providers to undertake all of this work and complete the accreditation process itself. We do not believe that high-quality outcomes can be achieved in this timescale and a rushed approach runs the real risk of low-quality provision, the loss of key providers from the sector and large gaps in provision by phase, subject and geographical location.

However, if reaccreditation is removed from the proposals, we believe that delivery of the quality requirements can be achieved by September 2023. If the quality requirements were published in full in November 2021, this allows almost a full academic year for partnership development, contract negotiation, curriculum design and quality assurance in time to have a clear understanding of the programme structure in time for recruitment to start in 2022.

There would then be a further full academic year to test the new curriculum and learn what works well and where improvements need to be made, leading the way to a full roll-out in 2023 with all quality measures fully embedded and partnerships firmly established, allowing for a smooth transition and proven, quality assured, high-quality ITT programmes in place.

Emma Hollis is Executive Director of The National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT)



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