Press Release 16102017

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 The National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers

“The Voice of School-Based Teacher Training”
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Press Release: 16th October 2017

 NASBTT Executive Director sets vision at Westminster reception
“The way forward for schools-led ITT”

Emma Hollis, Executive Director of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), which champions schools-led teacher training and development, today outlines her two-year vision for the organisation.


Firstly, I would like to say how good it is to see so many of you here and express my gratitude to you for giving up your time to come.  Everybody in this room has a significant stake in the quality of Initial Teacher Training and we have invited you here today because my recent appointment makes it an appropriate time to share with you NASBTT’s expectations of the way forward.  NASBTT currently has a membership of 154 SCITT providers, representing 88% of School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) providers, as well as School Direct Lead Schools and Teaching Schools, training some 7,000 trainees.  Tomorrow, we host our annual conference which will be attended by some 150 delegates … amazing when we think that at our first meeting in 2000 we had just a handful of people around the table.

I feel incredibly privileged to have been appointed as NASBTT’s Executive Director and am excited to accept the opportunity to lead the organisation as we move forward ensuring that we have a direct impact on the challenges facing the sector.  NASBTT’s mission is to contribute to the raising of standards and the development of high quality learning and teaching for pupils in schools.  We seek to achieve this by promoting high quality in programmes of initial training, education and the professional development of teachers, which are devised, delivered, managed and assessed by a school or partnership of schools.  Children themselves are at the heart of everything we do and it is with them in mind that we set out our vision for the next two years.


Achieving excellent outcomes for pupils necessitates a focus on quality.  Quality is an interesting concept, one that needs constant focus and nurturing otherwise it can all too quickly disappear.  We are justifiably proud of the quality we have already helped to promote within the system but that does not mean that we can sit back and relax.  The drive for excellence must be persistent, relentless and far reaching and, despite the excellent quality of provision already within the sector, I am most interested in how we sustain that high quality in three main areas:

  • Maintaining value by offering high quality support and guidance to our members, allowing them to sustain excellent programmes of ITT;
  • Maintaining our dedication to all ITT routes remaining within the remit of accredited providers who offer high quality, rigorous training which produces excellent practitioners for the future; and
  • Ensuring that we offer high quality opportunities for all teachers entering the profession and for teacher educators throughout their careers.


In the 2017 Good Teacher Training Guide, eight of the top ten providers of Initial Teacher Training (ITT) are SCITTs.  School-based training attracts a wider cross-section of society, with more trainees from ethnic minorities, aged 25 and over and more men to primary teaching.  We believe this results from the close relationships which SCITT providers have with their partner schools and the involvement of front-line staff in the selection of trainees and the design and delivery of training.  Our members are a critical factor in ensuring a sustainable teacher workforce and we humbly believe that some of their success emanates from the support that we as an organisation have been able to give.  We acknowledge that the Ofsted inspection process, challenging and uncomfortable as it has been at times, has been instrumental in helping us identify the common areas of improvement for our members and provide support which has led to an unprecedented number of “good” and “outstanding” gradings in Ofsted inspections for schools-led partnerships.

Whilst we are keen to present the success of schools-led teacher training provision, I also want to fully acknowledge the importance of HEIs in ITT.  Artificial and unhelpful distinctions between different kinds of training provision should be forgotten – the reality is that SCITTs, HEIs, Teach First and School Direct providers have long worked together.  They are not as distinct as some have them appear.  NASBTT is supportive of a simplification of the system and continues to encourage greater partnership working.  Any plans for strengthened Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) must include scope for close collaboration between schools, SCITTs and universities as equal partners in planning and delivering the early career professional development to build on the excellent foundations already being achieved.  In the spirit of this collaboration, I am thrilled to announce that the close working relationship between NASBTT and UCET is to become more formalised, firstly through mutual representation on one another’s boards, and secondly through the formation of a joint venture company – AATEP (The Association of Accredited Teacher Education Providers) – which will give us the scope to work jointly where there is merit in us doing so and which will offer wider value to the members of both organisations.

Accredited Providers

In considering the way forward for routes into teaching, we cautiously welcome the fact that ITT allocations for the 2018-19 academic year will allow accredited providers the freedom to recruit according to local need and not place caps on recruitment which do not take account of regional variation.  This is something we have been advocating for and are pleased to see that trust has been put into the sector to do what is best for their local communities.

The Secretary of State’s announcement around plans for a new teaching-apprenticeship route to QTS seems to mark a major shift in ministerial thinking.  Whilst we welcome the principle of an apprenticeship route to teaching (and indeed, together with UCET, have already offered support and advice to those developing the postgraduate route), for us there is a danger in opening up teacher training to untested and unproven methodologies.  Our view is that an undergraduate apprenticeship, where trainees first obtain a degree (awarded by an HEI working in collaboration with partnerships of schools) and then go on to achieve QTS, might be an exciting way to bring additionality to the system and we look forward to working closely with relevant parties to ensure that the valuable lessons already learned by the ITT sector are not lost along the way.

Whilst we acknowledge that one size does not fit all, we need to ease the complexity of the teacher training system, and not create additional routes which fail to solve our problems around recruitment and retention.  There is a real danger that in seeking to find new recruits, training is offered that meets the ITT Criteria only in its broadest sense and lacks the acid test of a rigorous inspection process.  In any way forward, the accreditation of all teacher training provision is crucial to sustaining the high quality currently enjoyed by the sector.
Career Development

In terms of achieving high quality in a teacher’s early career, NASBTT’s vision is for a revised three-year postgraduate teacher training route which continues to qualify teachers at the end of the first year but which includes an entitlement to ongoing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and academic study into years two and three, leading to an all-Master’s profession.  In year one, we would have school-based practice focusing on pedagogy and relationship building to help trainee teachers become ready to ‘hit the ground running’ in their Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) year.  As is now the case, QTS would be awarded at the end of this first year.  In year two, during the NQT year, time would be set aside for academic study with a focus on reflection.  In year three, teachers would focus on a research area which either meets their personal interests or a need within their school as they finalise their journey to Master’s qualification.  This would mean that teachers are better prepared to face the realities of life as a teacher and give schools what they need from their staff whilst improving retention with this clearly mapped out early-career development.  The initial response to this will inevitably be: Can we afford it?  My reply, in keeping children at the heart of what we do, would be: Can we afford not to?

One of my personal passions is the belief that enhanced professional development for teacher educators – those people whose role it is to “teach the teachers” – is an essential direction of travel.  Having listened to our members, we are developing a suite of qualifications for front-line school-based staff involved in the day-to-day training and mentoring of trainee and early-career teachers, those responsible for the design and implementation of ITT programmes and, at a higher level, those responsible for the management and accountability of programmes.  Ranging from Effective Coaching and Mentoring, through to Finance for SCITT/School Direct Managers, a suite of modules will all be rolled out over the next 12 months.  Training will be delivered by us, or licensed providers trained by NASBTT and who are entitled to offer this programme.


At the heart of our collective challenge for the way forward is ensuring that we have a sustained, and quality, teacher workforce that meets the needs of the children in our schools. Whatever happens around us, and whatever the political climate, we must remain focused on our core purpose – which is to contribute to the raising of standards and the development of high quality learning and teaching for pupils in schools by promoting high quality in programmes of initial training, education and the professional development of teachers. This is a non-negotiable – the absolute bedrock of what we stand for and wherever the future may take us, this purpose remains constant and unchanging.

My final plea for high quality, therefore, is for high quality in our relationships with you, as partner stakeholders in this facet of educational provision.  This may be my first brief meeting with some of you, but I am keen to engage with each of you as I take this organisation forward.  Thank you for your support.

 Notes for editors
Emma Hollis is available for interview via Phil Smith, NASBTT PR Consultant
Telephone: 01778 218180
Mobile: 07866 436159
 NASBTT contact details
Alison Hobson, Executive Officer
Address: The Priory Centre
63 Newnham Avenue
Bedford. MK41 9QJ
Telephone: 01933 627049
Mobile: 07925 805399