We’ve recently completed our cycle of inspections of all initial teacher education providers.  There are around 260 initial teacher education providers, offering training for one or more age-phase partnerships: early years, primary, secondary or further education. The standard we’ve found has been consistently high and in the past year, nearly two thirds of age phase partnerships at higher education institutions we inspected are outstanding; and 60 out of 61 age phase partnerships providing ITE were good or outstanding[1].

Now we’re at the end of the cycle, it’s the right time to consider what we need to do to make sure our inspections continue to be helpful for trainees, for the schools they’re applying to and reflect the changing landscape in education. We’re all on the same page, I’m sure, when I say that we owe it to people who want to join our profession to give them the training they need to succeed in their chosen careers long term.

I want to talk about two significant changes which will help us do this:

  • the launch of the new education inspections framework (EIF), in effect from September 2019
  • the development of the new initial teacher education (ITE) inspection framework.

A change of emphasis

The first significant change is the EIF. From September 2019, schools, colleges, early years providers – all Ofsted’s education remits – will be inspected under the new framework.

The EIF has the curriculum at its heart and brings the focus of an Ofsted inspection back to what pupils are learning. The quality of education is the key judgement here, ensuring that teaching, learning and assessment are no longer separate from ‘outcomes’.

Inspectors will look at the intent of the curriculum – the design, what’s included, and how appropriate it is for the pupils. They’ll look at implementation, or how the curriculum is delivered, taught and assessed. And they’ll look at the impact of the curriculum, how children progress (including national tests and assessments), from how well reading is taught to what their destinations are.

Alongside this, inspectors will be looking at the behaviour and attitudes of pupils, their personal development and how well the school is led and managed – including a focus on staff workload and well-being, staff development, and safeguarding.

Workload is a barrier to entering the profession, and a reason retention can be an issue. Under the new EIF inspectors will focus on how leaders engage with and manage staff, taking account of the main pressures on them. They will not look at schools’ internal progress and attainment data for current pupils, though they will continue to look at published national data and the analysis of it. We will ask questions of the senior leadership team if there are more than two or three data drops a year.

New teachers entering the profession will not notice the changes under the new framework. I hope that they will, from the start, be focusing on what they are teaching and how they can ensure pupils build on their knowledge and skills to reach their full potential.

Developing a new ITE inspection framework

The development of a new ITE framework is now underway. As with the EIF, the ITE framework will be informed by the outcomes of a multi-phased research programme.

We aim to launch the consultation for the new framework in January 2020. Before and during the formal consultation process we’ll be asking all our stakeholders to contribute their views, and we’ll confirm our plans in the spring of 2020. However, we would like to get some feedback now from you as trainee teachers or lecturers.  In particular, we’re interested in getting feedback in relation to the following questions:

  • Did you know that Ofsted inspected ITE before you applied?
  • If you did, how did you learn about our work in ITE?
  • Did you read the ITE report for your training provider before, during or after applying?
  • How accessible do your find our reports? If you have never seen one have a look: https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/41/70178
  • What things would you liked to have known about your training provider before applying?

We look forward to hearing what trainees think. We’re holding a webinar on 25 June at 7pm and we’d be grateful if you could share this with them. Sign up here: bit.ly/ITEWebinar

This is a great opportunity to ask the team from Ofsted how the changes to the framework will affect trainees.

[1] Based on inspections concluded by 31 January 2019. ‘Management information – initial teacher education – published by 7 February 2019’, published February 2019; www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/management-information-ofsteds-initial-teacher-education-ite-inspections-outcomes

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