Happy New Year to you all. While COVID-19 continues to challenge, let’s hope that 2021 brings some resolution and relief.

ITE inspection update 

As you will have read in the Ofsted: coronavirus (COVID-19) rolling update Ofsted will introduce full graded inspections under the new ITE inspection framework from April 2021.

From January 2021, we will carry out research into how COVID-19 has affected the provision of ITE. This will result in a single published report before the start of full inspections from April 2021.

Ofsted’s ITE Research

The ITE research will be undertaken from January to March 2021. The intention is to gather information from a range of partnership phases, sizes and types, in order to publish a national ITE research report in the summer term. Partnerships will be selected by Ofsted and notified a week in advance so that they have time to organise relevant meetings with appropriate stakeholders. The research will be fully remote using an appropriate platform, such as Microsoft Teams and participation is voluntary. The research will be conducted over a two-day period with one inspector, to give the greatest flexibility, so that meetings can be arranged to suit partnership personnel.

The focus of the research will be two-fold:

  • To build a national picture of how the ITE sector has responded to COVID-19.
  • To look at how partnership leaders have ensured and assured the quality of the ITE curriculum. On primary and secondary programmes, this will include the implementation of the Core Content Framework.

The research is not an inspection. No grades will be given, or reports written on individual partnership phases. The research should be viewed as an opportunity for the sector to share their views on the impact of COVID-19 and the actions they have taken to maintain high quality ITE courses. A national report will be published in the summer term.

DfE update on placements

Please note the following statement from the DfE (full document in the link): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-initial-teacher-training-itt/coronavirus-covid-19-initial-teacher-training-itt#changes-to-the-itt-criteria-for-2020-to-2021

We recognise that disruption due to coronavirus (COVID-19) may lead to discrepancies in the length and consistency of trainees’ school placement experience this year. We have published guidance to highlight this and we expect providers to use their professional judgment and discretion to determine the extent to which individual trainees have, through their school-based training, been able to evidence the Teachers’ Standards. Ofsted will take this into account when inspections resume in April 2021. 

Other useful links and updates 

Higher education providers: coronavirus (COVID-19) – updated 7 January 2021

This new higher education guidance specifies ITT as a prioritised subject for face-to-face teaching/return on p.4 of ‘Students returning to and starting higher education in the Spring term’:


Updated guidance for schools including the deployment of ITT trainees.

Restricting attendance during the national lockdown: schools’ document – see pages 36-37 – updated 7 January 2021


Coronavirus (COVID-19): initial teacher training (ITT) – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-initial-teacher-training-itt

Teacher Recruitment Bulletin – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-recruitment-bulletin

The aim of Ofsted’s Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Update is to provide ITE partnerships with the latest Ofsted information, guidance and relevant links. If you are no longer the identified provider’s representative for your ITE partnership, please pass on to the relevant colleague and contact us with their details via the ITE@ofsted.gov.uk mailbox.

Please let us know if there are any particular topics you would like to read about in the next ITE Ofsted update, by writing to ITE@ofsted.gov.uk

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