Initial Teacher Training Market Review Response
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
The University of Oxford has submitted its response to the public consultation, launched on 5th July 2021, following the publication by the government of the ITT market review report. We issued a statement on 5th July, expressing our concerns about the report and its recommendations which, if implemented, would have far-reaching consequences for initial teacher education (ITE) in England, including a threat to the future viability of the Oxford Internship Scheme which could not operate under the proposed model.
We support the objective of promoting consistently high-quality teacher training, but do not believe that this is the way to achieve such an objective, and have called on the Government to halt the consultation. This would provide an opportunity to engage in genuine dialogue with teacher education providers, including the University of Oxford, to explore alternative ways of promoting high-quality provision. The proposals contained in the review report are fundamentally flawed and risk de-stabilising teacher education in England, with inevitable consequences for teacher supply.
Our response to the consultation makes the following points:
- The proposed structure:
The development of a national model for ITE provision, centrally controlled, with accredited providers working with ‘lead partners’, will significantly challenge university involvement in ITE. Current university-school partnerships, even those as well-established as the Oxford Internship Scheme, could be ‘squeezed out’ in a model which would make it difficult for established local partnerships to operate. The proposed structure would threaten our current model of collaborative partnership, in which schools and the university work together to design, deliver and evaluate the programme.
- The ITE curriculum:
The model proposes centralised control over PGCE programme curriculum content with prescriptions as to how the curriculum should be sequenced, how trainees should undertake placements, and minimum requirements for mentors, along with restrictive quality assurance mechanisms to enforce compliance with these requirements. This will have clear implications for partnerships and a resultant reduction in academic freedom in terms of an ITE curriculum which will no longer be designed collaboratively with schools. There is no evidence in the report for many of the curriculum proposals, for example the requirement for 20 days of intensive placements for all trainee teachers.
- The model of teacher learning:
This is not based on any well-researched model of professional learning, but rather a model of pupil learning, heavily influenced by current interpretations of cognitive science. This is a ‘one-size fits all’ approach which takes no account of local contexts and the needs of local schools. Training under such a model will reduce teacher professionalism and thus pose a risk to teacher retention.
- The process of re-accreditation:
There is little justification for a costly and time-consuming process of re-accreditation, particularly at the current time given the wider challenges of the pandemic across the whole education sector, and the time scales suggested are unworkable.
The University of Oxford therefore calls for this consultation to be halted so that it can continue:
- to operate within the principles underpinning the Oxford Internship Scheme
- to determine (in collaboration with its school partners) its own high-quality curriculum and have the academic freedom to implement that curriculum
- to operate a programme which is research-informed at all levels and not constrained by adherence to a prescriptive or restricted evidence base
- to maintain and develop its long-standing partnership with local schools, working in a way that has proven to be effective
- to respond flexibly to the needs of our school partners as local contexts change and develop