Core content framework and Ofsted Initial Teacher Training inspection framework

This September brought the introduction of two major shake-ups in teacher training.

1) The ITT Core Content Framework  This has long been promised; a pilot version was brought out in 2016, based largely on the Carter Review, but linking the content firmly to the Teacher Standards. This version was rushed out last Autumn, to avoid purdah during the election period. It has now been confirmed as a requirement.

If you are familiar with the ECF, then this will hold no surprises: each section is based on one of the 8 Standards – though Section 2 of the Standards is not really represented. For each section, trainees will be asked to “learn that” and to “learn how to”. 

This has led to a complete overhaul of our assessment procedures. Our new Trainee Progress Booklet asks mentors and tutors to assess the extent to which the topic has been understood by the trainee, before any question of their meeting the standard arises.

One interesting development is that training providers are encouraged to go beyond a narrow interpretation of the ITE curriculum as purely about meeting the Standards. This suits the approach we have always taken, focusing as we do on student research into aspects of pedagogy and on a variety of key topics to broaden our trainees’ outlook, such as diversity and social justice, wellbeing, criticality and reflexivity.

In general, the Core Content Framework does not specify actual content or privilege one approach over others – instead it encourages an approach which offers a robust intellectual challenge to trainees, using “the best available educational research” and “additional guidance from expert practitioners”.

One welcome development is the requirement for subject and phase specific training, recognising that not all teaching can be boiled down to generic approaches. This vindicates the approach taken by the team at London Met – all of our tutors are subject and phase specific practitioners; we have never offered areas in which we do not have expertise.

2) The Ofsted Inspection Framework for ITE: Back in March, we undertook a ‘pilot inspection’ to test the new Ofsted framework. This has now been published and the first inspections could be in January, though we suspect that, given the current situation, that might be a step too far.

What is different? Gone are the two-stage inspections; judgements on Outcomes have less prominence, subsumed into ‘Leadership and Management’, with ‘Quality of Education and Training’ being the other judgement area. Gone is the constant assessment and grading of trainees against the standards, in favour of a simple ‘Meeting’ or ‘Not meeting’ at the end of the course, reflected in our new assessment procedures. 

In general, the changes bring the new framework in line with the latest schools’ framework – deep dives, the importance of subject knowledge, recognition of the importance of formative assessment and a nod to the broader curriculum.