Member Spotlight

An increasing number of ITT providers are reporting how they are using NASBTT resources, including most commonly our Curriculum Design and Assessment Toolkit, ITT Criteria Compliance Audit, NASBTT Learn, NASBTT Networks Live and Teacher Educator Programmes, to help them prepare for Ofsted inspections.

Here we speak to three NASBTT members about their experiences, learnings and advice for others: Louise Leigh, Director of ITT at King Edward’s Consortium; Rebecca Lillington, Director, and Emma Thomas, Primary and Secondary ITT Course Manager, at South Birmingham SCITT; and Sarah Trow, Head of SCITT at St George’s Academy Partnership.

Tell us about your use of the ITT Criteria Compliance Audit in preparing for inspection.

Louise: “It was extremely useful. I originally thought the ITT Criteria Compliance Audit would be quite time-consuming to complete, but I kept my responses brief and then signposted the reader to relevant policies e.g. Partnership Agreement, Recruitment and Selection Policy etc. Over the years, with support from our Trust’s solicitor, we’ve worked hard to develop a suite of policies and contracts; the compliance audit helped us to bring all of this work together. The document highlighted a couple of areas where we needed greater clarity but these were easily remedied. It was a no-brainer to use the audit; there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, and, whoever did the document formatting is a genius! Completing the audit only took a couple of hours. We did this well in advance of the inspection notification call and it felt reassuring to know we had a comprehensive overview in advance.”

Rebecca: “We identified with that document, and used it as a framework, which followed on from a course development day we held as a team. This involved undertaking a SWOT analysis in preparation for potential inspection. We also attended a NASBTT workshop on Ofsted readiness which identified the hot topic questions. We took the questions from this and micro-scripted responses, and used these as the basis for joint conversations e.g. how much are we teaching the Core Content Framework (CCF)?”

Sarah: “It pulled together everything in one place, and formed the basis of our discussion to prepare for Ofsted. As a small team it was important that we were all involved and aligned. In previous years we kept everything in an A3 file, with lots of sections, but the audit document enabled us to bring all the evidence together with pre-prepared comments. Our biggest concern was ‘are we ready’ in light of the disruption due to Covid, and how connected the programme was in respect of the CCF. However, we knew that the elements of our training programmes are all connected; the NASBTT document helped us evidence that. This year we were able to highlight specific Covid-related amendments, such as where we have personalised training for individuals regarding second placements, and moved some primary trainees between age phases in their first placement schools rather than sending them to a second placement school due to the nature of class bubbles. Compliance used to mean a heavy workload, but the NASBTT document has made this so much easier and cut down that workload massively.”

How did the documentation support you during Ofsted?

Sarah: “The inspector had the audit in front of him on day one, and cross-checked what we did with the information on the central record system.”

Louise: “By 9.00am the day after you receive the inspection notification call from Ofsted you are required to provide an overview of how leaders and managers ensure compliance. Although Ofsted does not specify a particular format, I chose to submit the ITT Criteria Compliance Audit and alongside that, as an appendix, all of the policies signposted in the document. Rather than waiting until 9.00am the next day, I uploaded our documentation to the portal as soon as it was open. Being able to do that straight away created (I think!) a sense that we were organised. On the first day of inspection, the compliance meeting was very straightforward and short. I also noticed the importance of structuring our compliance documentation around the ITT criteria. That is to say, the fact that the ITT Criteria Compliance Audit and our Partnership Agreement follow the order of the ITT criteria, really helped. The lead inspector had a checklist to work through, so the way the document was structured really worked. NASBTT has just released the most up-to-date version of the audit; as a team we are working through that now.”

Rebecca: “For us generally the ITT Criteria Compliance Audit, and the wider work we had done through NASBTT, enabled us to build out a strong message: to focus on the positives and really emphasise what our main strengths are.”

Beyond the compliance audit, what other NASBTT resources prepared you for Ofsted?

Rebecca: “We used NASBTT Learn modules quite a lot for pre-course tasks e.g. introduction to teacher training or understanding safeguarding, and these have been a real thread through this year. Trainees used NASBTT Networks Live (NNL) last summer as a wraparound on what they have learned e.g. EAL document before/after courses. We want to triangulate more, and these networks are an additional supplement alongside modules. They worked really well during lockdown and now in professional studies. Trainees’ subject specificity is so important going forward – the more support that is available for trainees the better and anything with the extra level in terms of depth or breadth is needed. I wasn’t a NASBTT member before I came here in January – it is brilliant in terms of the support that is available for teacher educators and trainees.”

Sarah: “We adopted the Curriculum Design and Assessment Toolkit – we have overhauled the way we do assessment and do not assess against the teacher standards until term six. The NASBTT toolkit uses grids for early stage, mid-stage and final stage of training, and this has led to a much reduced workload for mentors as we measure trainees as either being on track or not. We have created visuals that take mentors through six key strands of our curriculum, so what does an on-track trainee look like in December, March and May? We used the assessment tracking grids as they are, but have spreadsheets on how they ramp up at each stage. Additionally, Safer Recruitment in Education Settings training and Fitness to Practise courses have been really useful at trainee interview stage, whilst the Professional Learning Conversations were an integral part of the way trainees access and connect the programme. All this has helped us prepare for Ofsted.”

Emma: “We have completed the Teacher Educator Programmes (TEPs) Levels 3 and 4 and now run our own TEPs for mentors. Courses for TEPs 1 and 2 were really well attended. The knowledge gained has been helpful for day-to-day support and progression, and the feedback was good/well received. Significantly the Ofsted inspector liked our offer for consistent courses for mentors. Moving forward mentors are being held with increasing importance so effective support is critical and we are using the Teacher Educator and Mentoring Zone (TEMZ).”

What advice would you give to other ITT providers in preparing for inspection?

Emma: “Simply to look at what NASBTT offer: NASBTT Learn, NNL, TEPs, and how we need to thread CCF themes throughout the curriculum. Utilise what exists and signpost this to trainees. For example, NNL sessions are shared with trainees so they know what is coming up and when, and we also circulate the weekly newsletter with trainees in terms of guiding them on developments that they need to know about. These are discussed with placement schools for individual target setting.”

Rebecca: “Identify hot topic questions. Whilst these are not anything that isn’t in the handbook, it is important to have these flagged and prepared.”

Louise: “Don’t delay, and set some time aside to go through the ITT Criteria Compliance Audit as soon as you can. It gave us peace of mind that we are compliant and time to add clarity where it was needed. Don’t write too much, signpost to your other policies, and produce an appendix of that additional documentation to submit alongside the audit when the time comes. To make it easy for inspectors to find what they are looking for, think about the order of ITT criteria when you are presenting documentation.”

Sarah: “Think about and set out key words – in our first call we talked about our ambitious curriculum – and ensure connection from trainees’ point of view. We had 45 trainees at the time of the inspection and Ofsted spoke to 43 of them (this also included Assessment Only). Our trainees absolutely know the CCF minimum requirement they are entitled to, but then we positioned our curriculum as beyond that. When using words like ambition, it is those additional NASBTT sessions outside the CCF that helped us to achieve this. Be proactive, have everything ready – we found inspectors don’t have time to read every document they ask for in advance.”







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