Only eight per cent of teacher training placements delayed

The majority of the trainee teachers in school-based Initial Teacher Training (ITT) provision are already undertaking school placements and there has been a dramatic increase in the provision of core online training too, according to a survey of 141 providers by the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT).
 
In June 2020, 81% of School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) providers, School Direct Lead Schools and HEIs said they were more concerned about securing sufficient school placements for 2020-21 compared to previous years. However, the latest NASBTT member survey shows that in 92% of cases trainees in school-based provision are already in school with only 8% delaying placements until later in the autumn term and only one provider holding until after Christmas. Of those who already have trainees in school, 96% report they are all placed.
 
Meanwhile, 94% of NASBTT members surveyed are currently doing at least some of their core training online, with 69% offering the majority this way. Only 6% of ITT providers say they will return to having no online training at all after the Covid-19 pandemic is over, compared to 79% who did no core online training prior to March 2020. Similarly, there has been an upsurge in the inclusion of virtual learning training in ITT programmes: prior to the pandemic, 91% of providers did not include this as a feature but 80% have introduced or will introduce it. Post-pandemic, 85% say they plan to include it in their ITT programmes.
 
NASBTT Executive Director Emma Hollis said: “We are continuing to work with the Department for Education on several approaches to give providers the confidence to continue to recruit despite the obvious uncertainties. Our focus has been on supporting ITT providers to develop flexible programmes and thus manage the threat of fewer school placements; for example, through paired/rolling/shared placements or by front-loading distance learning programmes and delaying placements until later in the year. It is pleasing to see the ‘swing’ from concern to relative comfort on placements for school-based providers, although the importance of developing mentor capacity – and concerns about the availability of this – was highlighted. Similarly, we have undertaken a lot of work to support ITT providers in developing their trainees’ skills in remote teaching and learning, including via our own NASBTT Learn platform, so the trends on offering core training online and virtual learning teaching are also very welcome. Both represent good news in a week where we have had bad news in terms of ITT funding.”
 
As well as funding being a top concern, ITT providers also highlighted some concerns about Ofsted inspections resuming in January 2021 and the moderation and quality assurance of programmes given the lack of access to schools in some areas. More guidance around implementation of the ITT Core Content Framework and for trainees who miss significant amounts of training due either to individual circumstances or local lockdown scenarios was also encouraged. Providers were also keen for more to be done around praising trainees’ and schools’ support and response to the current, and ongoing, circumstances.

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