In response to the DFE’s policy paper Initial teacher training (ITT) market review published on 2 January 2021, members of the NSEAD ITE community have shared their concerns and questions about the intentions of this review and how it will be carried out. We share the concerns of the TeachBest campaign that the Government is planning to re-shape the teacher training market in England with potentially devastating consequences to the country’s teacher pipeline at the worst time imaginable.
The aim of the review is to review the ITT market to support it to work more efficiently and effectively, with a focus on driving further improvements across the sector.
Responding to the stated objectives and outputs of the review, we have several questions.
The ITT system benefits all schools - We ask for clarification about this objective. It is not clear what is meant by benefit, the scope, or what the baseline is for improvement. TeachBest point out: ‘The Government has often stated how proud it is that there are now 1.9 million more children in Good or Outstanding schools compared with 2010 – our teachers and their ITE providers deserve a great deal of credit for this.’ (#Teachbest campaign https://www.teachbest.education/)
Is the objective to have stronger teachers overall or is it to address issues of recruitment at local and regional level?
How does this relate to local supply of Art and Design teachers?
All trainees receive high-quality training - The Department for Education’s survey of NQTs showed more than 80% of new teachers regularly rated their ITE highly. Ofsted agrees, judging every single teacher education partnership as Good or Outstanding.
It is unclear what issues of quality in current provision is to be addressed.
We are concerned about the degree to which any recommendations will be, firstly, pertinent to our discipline, and, secondly, enhance professional learning for art, craft and design teachers. The ECF Early Career Framework and the ITT CCF Core Content Framework are both generic, with a narrow view of teaching and learning and a heavy emphasis on core subjects.
What quality issues does the review seek to address?
Will the review address the limitations of the CCF and ECF to support and develop subject or specialist qualifications?
The ITT market maintains the capacity to deliver enough trainees and is accessible to candidates - We are especially concerned that the review could propose a system under which a small number of selected organisations offer short-term contracts to ITE providers. Under these conditions, many ITE providers might decide the teacher training market is unviable and will withdraw. Indeed, more than 30 providers have already signaled that they may pull out, taking with them some 10,000 teacher training places a year. The new Institute of Teaching, which will provide 1,000 places, will not be able to fill this void, leading to a catastrophic shortage of teachers.
We have reason to be alarmed. In 2019 NSEAD reported on a 27-28 percent year-on-year shortfall in our subject reaching its TSM. After years of under recruitment (2019-20 art & design recruited 69% of its target) a bursary was introduced for trainee teachers in September 2019 – and art and design met recruitment targets for 2020-21. In November 2020 it was announced that the bursary would be withdrawn for art and design trainees. We await the impact this may have on teacher recruitment for 2021-22.
How will and more efficient and effective ITT market ensure that sufficient teacher training places are available, and trainees recruited to ensure that Art and Design education thrives within our schools.
The review will aim to make ‘well informed, evidence-based recommendations.
We are concerned that a review at the current time cannot give a valid picture of provision until the sector has begun to move beyond the conditions of the pandemic. Evidence on how well ITE providers have introduced the CCF will begin to be available when ITE inspections begin again this year. There should be a proper call for evidence, and it should be conducted within a reasonable timescale, when the sector is moving beyond the pandemic.
What evidence will be considered by the review group? Will evidence be draw from a wide range of sources that reflect provision and need for art and design education?
NSEAD members hope the Government will reassess and take the decision to undertake an evidence-based review in good time that enhances and improves our teacher training system, not diminishes it; that leads to a pipeline of even more great teachers, not fewer, and that gives full regard to the needs of Art and Design education.