Mentoring key to high quality initial teacher education

Research into initial teacher education (ITE) curriculum reveals effective mentoring and prioritising the needs of a trainee are two key indicators of quality.

The latest research found that effective sequencing of the curriculum across the year was vital in preparing trainees for entering the classroom.

In some examples of ITE partnerships Ofsted visited, a desire to cover every aspect of teaching in depth resulted in an imbalance in their curriculum. In these cases, more time was spent on one aspect of teaching to the detriment of another equally important aspect.

Ofsted also identified some weaker performing partnerships were attempting to capture everything in bite-size chunks in order to ensure coverage of the Teachers’ Standards. This often led to trainees having only a surface-level understanding of teaching concepts and being unprepared at the end of their programme.

Ofsted also found that good quality mentoring, backed up by effective quality assurance and communication within ITE partnerships, is vital to creating and delivering a quality curriculum.

In some partnerships, mentors reported that a lack in their own training led to confusion about their goals, which was reflected in the support they offered their mentees. In those that scored well on our research indicators, partnerships had worked to improve the teaching skills of mentors as well as trainees.

In higher-scoring partnerships, course leaders and partner providers worked together to deliver a well-sequenced curriculum that put the trainee’s development at its core, rather than prioritising the needs of the partner and settings.

During the next phase of development of the new ITE framework, Ofsted will be consulting on a draft handbook. The consultation will be launched later this month.

Further piloting and development is also planned during spring term 2020. It is anticipated that the first set of inspections under a new framework will begin in January 2021.

Read more