Date published: 14th October 2019

Published by: Ofsted

Please see a communication below sent by email from Ofsted on Monday 14th October.

Dear colleagues,

This communication provides further details to update you about about the arrangements of Ofsted’s inspections of ITE partnerships during the autumn term 2019.

ITE partnership contact details
This communication has been sent to you as the identified provider’s representative for your ITE partnership. I would be grateful if you could pass this on to the relevant colleague if there has been a recent change and contact us with their details via the ite@ofsted.gov.uk mailbox. Thank you to colleagues who have recently contacted us about such changes.

The final inspections of the current ITE framework
As you will be aware, only a very small number of partnerships are being inspected during 2019. Inspections of these partnerships began in the summer term. During the summer period there have been no changes made to the inspection handbook. Stage 2 inspections of the autumn term 2019 are now underway. There will be no focused monitoring inspections of primary phonics and/or primary and secondary behaviour training this academic year.

The development of the 2020 ITE inspection framework
Ofsted is continuing to engage widely on the development of the new ITE framework for 2020. We are consulting with as many representative organisations within ITE as possible, including the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET), the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT) and the Education and Training Foundation (ETF).

The summer 2019 partnership newsletter explained that HMCI has commissioned a programme of research to inform the development of the next ITE framework. The research team, led by Alan Passingham and Adrian Lyons, HMI, have now completed visits to a balanced sample of partnerships across all eight Ofsted regions. The emerging findings of this research and final findings will be published on the following dates:

  • 16 October 2019 – A commentary will be published by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector. This will detail the findings from the first phase of our ITE curriculum research (completed in spring 2019) and explain how the findings have been used to develop the fieldwork in phase two (completed in summer 2019) of the study.
  • January 2020 – The final findings from Ofsted’s research study into ITE training programmes will be published alongside the 2020 ITE framework consultation.

ITE inspection framework piloting
During the autumn term Ofsted will be piloting the draft ITE inspection criteria. We have developed this set of criteria by applying:

  • the findings of Ofsted’s curriculum research
  • the emerging findings from Ofsted’s research into ITE training programmes
  • our evaluation of the current ITE framework
  • feedback from sector feedback, including from UCET, NASBTT and ETF
  • feedback from our HMI ITE workforce.

Thank you to those partnerships that have agreed to allow us to pilot the draft inspection framework. The feedback we receive from these pilots will directly shape the criteria and methodology that we will finalise, in preparation for launching a formal consultation in January 2020.

During the ITE pilots inspectors will not share the draft criteria with partnerships. This is because we will be making iterative updates weekly, based on the feedback from pilot partnerships (including mentors and trainees) and our inspection workforce.

A smaller number of pilot inspections will be conducted during the spring term of 2020. These pilots will allow Ofsted to better consider any changes to the framework and/or criteria as we analyse the formal consultation feedback.

DfE skills test announcement (QTS courses only)
The Department for Education (DfE) announced on 16 July 2019 that the Government has decided to replace the skills test with a new system of provider-led assurance from the upcoming recruitment cycle.

In September 2019, the DfE wrote to partnerships, sharing the guidance on the fundamental English and mathematics proficiencies that all teachers need. The letter also outlined details on how the new approach will affect all training routes, ahead of the start of the next recruitment cycle.

Since this announcement I have received a number of questions from providers about how Ofsted will respond to this announcement. Ofsted will expect providers to comply with the requirements set out in the ITT compliance criteria.

Ofsted will simply continue to inspect partnerships’ recruitment and selection of trainees. Inspectors will continue to:

  1. ask providers about the processes and procedures in place to recruit and select trainees who are ready to begin training to teach.
  2. ask leaders how they are responding to the needs of individuals and groups of trainees. In particular, how they are adapting the training programme or pastoral arrangements for each new cohort of trainees.

Going forward, inspectors are likely to ask partnership leaders how they:

  • identify any gaps in prospective trainees’ fundamental English and mathematics skills, which will not be covered in the course content.
  • support trainees admitted to the training programme(s) who have identified gaps.
  • ensure any identified gaps are filled before course completion.

Ofsted will not expect you to have any particular recruitment and selection process. We will not expect evidence about recruitment to be presented in any particular manner.

Publication of official statistics for ITE – 29 August 2019
Ofsted has published its annual official statistics information for ITE. These include re-inspection judgements from the summer term 2019 and can be found via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/initial-teacher-education-inspections-and-outcomes-as-at-30-june-2019

National ITE engagement events – December 2019
In the run up to the launch of the ITE framework consultation in January 2020, Ofsted will be holding a number of engagement events. The engagement events will be open to all ITE partnerships and free to attend. The sessions will allow you to hear first hand the thinking that has shaped the ITE framework consultation. Each date will offer a morning and an afternoon session, aiming to allow you flexibility with travel.

Registration for attending the events will be communicated to partnerships over the next few weeks. The events will be held on the following dates:

  • 4 December 2019 – Jurys Inn, 245 Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2HQ
  • 10 December 2019 – etc.venues, Avonmouth House, 6 Avonmouth Street, London, SE1 6NX

We will also be running two live webinars to complement the events taking place in London and Birmingham.

The webinars will include the same content as the face-to-face events, and registration for attendance will be communicated to the partnerships over the next few weeks.

Recordings of the webinars will be made available to the sector for reference and for those who cannot attend the live events.

Formal consultation
The formal consultation for the new framework will be launched in January 2020. We will write to you directly as a partnership when the consultation opens.

During the consultation process we will hold a number of events to discuss the framework being consulted on.

We will write to you nearer the time explaining when these will take place and how to register.

Ofsted publications and materials

HMCI commentary: managing behaviour research
September 2019: Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, summarises our findings so far on managing behaviour in schools and our future projects:  https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/research-commentary-managing-behaviour
Knife Crime: safeguarding children and young people in education
September 2019: Ofsted carried out a research project on knife crime in education. This report sets out our findings and recommendations:

Education Inspection Framework (EIF)
Ofsted’s new inspection framework for Early Years, Schools, and Further Education and Skills came into effect in September 2019. While this framework is not used for ITE inspections, it may be useful for trainee teachers to be aware of:

Yours sincerely

David Storrie HMI
Specialist Adviser for ITE
Annex – Changes to the professional skills test for teachers
On 16 July, you received a letter from Minister Gibb explaining that the Government is replacing the skills test at the end of the 2019/20 recruitment cycle with a new system of provider-led assurance.

I am writing to you now to share guidance on the fundamental English and mathematics proficiencies all teachers need and offer more information on how this approach will affect all training routes ahead of the start of the next recruitment cycle. The guidance has been developed with the support of UCET and NASBTT.

The new approach
Under this new approach Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers are expected to make an assessment of English and mathematics knowledge of a trainee before Qualified Teacher Status or Early Years Teacher Status is awarded. ITT providers must, as an accreditation requirement, assure that trainees have these skills either during the selection process, or later during the training programme.

Any work to address shortfalls in English and mathematics must be undertaken by the trainee teacher in addition to other aspects of their training. It is the trainee’s responsibility to secure these fundamental skills, whereas responsibility for assurance lies with the ITT provider. Fundamental English and mathematics may be implemented, supported and assured in different ways by different ITT providers.

Fundamental English and mathematics
All teachers are expected to be competent in Fundamental English and mathematics. By the end of ITT all trainees must be able to demonstrate competence in the following areas:

Speaking, listening and communicating are fundamental to a teacher’s role. Teachers should use standard English grammar, clear pronunciation and vocabulary relevant to the situation to convey instructions, questions, information, concepts and ideas with clarity. Teachers should read fluently and with good understanding.

Writing by teachers will be seen by colleagues, pupils and parents and, as such, it is important that a teacher’s writing reflects the high standards of accuracy their professional role demands. They should write clearly, accurately, legibly and coherently using correct spelling and punctuation.

Teachers should use data and graphs to interpret information, identify patterns and trends and draw appropriate conclusions. They need to interpret pupil data and understand statistics and graphs in the news, academic reports and relevant papers.

Teachers should be able to complete mathematical calculations fluently with whole numbers, fractions, decimals and percentages. They should be able to solve mathematical problems using a variety of methods and approaches including: estimating and rounding, sense checking answers, breaking down problems into simpler steps and explaining and justifying answers using appropriate language.
The guidance, and fundamental English and mathematics outlined above, will be incorporated into the ITT criteria and supporting advice at the end of the current recruitment cycle. As the removal of the skills test applies to all routes into teaching, we will also make corresponding changes to the Assessment Only criteria and Early Years criteria.

Over the course of the next recruitment cycle there will also be an opportunity to refine these fundamentals, working with you and your representative bodies to iterate and improve them before candidates start their training in 2020.

This new approach will come into effect from the start of the next recruitment cycle and will affect all candidates starting ITT courses on or after the 1 April 2020. Those providers offering courses which start before this date should continue to require candidates to have passed the skills test.

Full service provision of the existing skills test will continue to be available until the end of October 2019 to support the busy clearing period of the 2019/20 recruitment cycle. From November 2019 until the end of March 2020 we will offer a reduced level of national provision to support providers offering courses, including Assessment Only and Apprenticeships, starting before 1 April 2020 and legacy cases. We will write to you with details of this reduced level of provision in October.

I would like to thank all providers for their contribution to this work and the wider work of the Department. If you have any queries, please contact us at: Skills.TESTS@education.gov.uk

Yours sincerely,

Rachel Hope
Deputy Director, Teacher Services

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