Department of Education receives “outstanding” rating for Teacher Training in latest Ofsted report

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Category: News

PGCE students

The University of Oxford’s teacher training has again been graded as ‘outstanding’ – the best possible category – by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) in its latest report, published on 14 December 2018. Inspectors found teacher training at the Department of Education to be of the highest standard in all the performance categories. The results come just ahead of the department’s 100th anniversary year, which will be celebrated in 2019.

Teacher training at Oxford University has been in existence since 1892, when the University opened (under the Non-Collegiate Delegacy) a Day Training College for elementary school teachers, where pupils were able to gain a teachers’ certificate and take an external degree. Today, the department, in partnership with local schools, trains around 180 secondary school teachers a year through its PGCE (Post-Graduate Certificate in Education) programmes in English, geography, history, mathematics, modern languages, religious education and science.

The inspection team visited the department and 12 of its partnership schools during June and November 2018 to carry out their assessments. They found the initial teacher education partnership at the department to be:

  • A unique and distinctive partnership, underpinned by a compelling and clearly articulated vision for a research-informed, partnership-led model of teacher education and professional development.
  • The recruitment processes, including the setting of pre-course research tasks to be rigorous and thorough, with almost all trainees making a flying start to their training year, leading to completion and employment rates for all subjects and groups that are, over time, well above sector averages.
  • The exceptionally well-crafted design of the course enables virtually all trainees to exceed the teachers’ standards. Typically, more than two thirds of trainees attain to a high level by the end of the training year. As a result, they make an exceptionally strong start to their NQT year, ensuring in turn that their pupils make sustained progress in their learning.
  • The partnership draws exceptionally well on the skills and experience of teachers and leaders within the partnership to enrich the curriculum studies and professional development aspects of the course. In addition, school-based mentors and university tutors work together extremely well to ensure a coherent and joined-up experience for trainees. Trainees express considerable confidence in all elements of the course, in particular the support provided by their university tutors.
  • Leaders have ensured that schools in challenging circumstances, as well as those judged to be outstanding, good and requiring improvement, are well represented in the partnership. Schools value their involvement in the partnership, especially the opportunities membership provides for staff at all levels to be involved in research activity. School leaders believe this helps to recruit and retain talented teachers and leaders.
  • The partnership takes its role in supplying high-quality teachers extremely seriously. Trainees are prepared for a long-term career in teaching, able to take responsibility for their own professional development and committed to social justice. A large number of former trainees hold teaching and leadership positions in partnership schools and, in many cases, contribute to the course as mentors.

Department Director, Jo-Anne Baird, welcomed the inspection outcome, saying that: “Ofsted have recognised the strengths of Oxford’s distinctive partnership model, with its distributed leadership and firm grounding in research-based teacher education.  All of those involved in the Oxford Internship Scheme can be rightly proud of their contribution to excellence in teacher education.”

The Oxford PGCE secondary partnership works with around 37 secondary schools in four local authorities and specialises across the 11-18 age range. A particular strength of the programme is its truly integrated approach, which acknowledges the different roles of university and schools in teacher education. This is reflected across the course structure, enabling trainees to use theory to interrogate practice and vice versa. A further feature is the way in which it has, at its heart, a model of research-informed practice which encompasses not only research about effective teaching which is drawn on to generate suggestions for practice, but also research into the processes of professional learning that is used to inform and review the structure and design of the teacher education programme itself.

Commenting on the outstanding grading, Trevor Mutton, Director of Professional Programmes at the department, said: “We are extremely proud of this achievement which recognises the unique nature of the partnership that we have with the local schools which work closely with us in both planning and delivering the PGCE programme. The Ofsted report recognises that we are producing teachers of the highest calibre who go on to make a difference to the lives of countless young people in schools up and down the country.”

The University of Oxford has been consistently designated by Ofsted as an ‘Outstanding’ provider and in 2019, the department will celebrate its 100th anniversary since the official passing of a statute creating what is known now as the Oxford University Department of Education. Originally established in 1919 to prepare teachers for Elementary and Secondary schools, the department’s contribution to the wider community has been evident since its inception and remains firmly at its core.

To find out more about teacher training at Oxford see:

To view the full Ofsted report see here: 10040487 University Of Oxford Partnership 70057 Final Report