9. Initial teacher training

9.1 External Agencies

All courses and training programmes within Initial Teacher Training (ITT) are subject to strict government criteria relating to curriculum, structure, assessment and general requirements. This University's ITT training programme is delivered under the Department for Education regulations applying to courses leading to the award of the Postgraduate Certificate in Education or the Professional Graduate Certificate in Education. The Department for Education (DfE)'s Teachers' Standards (2011) and Initial Teacher Training Criteria (2017) apply to this PGCE programme.

Inspection of ITT courses is carried out by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) and is subject to the Framework for the Inspection of Teacher Education 2015. Under this Framework, the frequency of the inspections is associated with outcomes of risk assessment that consider the established track record of the provider. Ofsted publishes reports on the outcome of each inspection.

9.2 Ofsted Inspections

The Director of Teacher Education co-ordinates communications between the University and Ofsted and organises the institutional response to the draft report.

Flowchart showing management of the OFSTED inspection cycle

9.3 Programme Review

The PGCE Programme and ITT-Partnership is subject to a regular and rigorous evaluation by Ofsted. In addition, the team carries out its own annual process of review, including completion of a comprehensive Self-Evaluation Document (SED). This identifies the programme's strengths, areas for development and actions to be undertaken to address those areas. These reviews are linked to the University’s Annual and Periodic Review of programmes. It is the responsibility of the Director of Teacher Education to maintain compliance with ITT Requirements (DfE/NCTL, 2017) and to ensure all necessary action is taken to meet Ofsted recommendations.

The relationship between the different partners within the ITT Partnership in respect of the review process is indicated in the following diagram:

Flowchart showing relationship between different partners (sorry, hard to explain in a short description - it begins with feedback collected from all concerned parties, then a monitoring phase where issues are identified, then reviewed by committee, resulting in agreed actions, and then an evaluation phase followed by a review of implementation, after which it loops back to the feedback stage).

9.4 Partnership Schools

The PGCE Programme can only be delivered by partnership with local schools under the terms of DfE (2017). This is a legally binding partnership which is offered annually to suitable schools.

The quality of support provided by partnership schools is fundamental to the overall quality of the trainees’ experience. The normal selection criteria for partnership schools are agreed by the Partnership Committee.

They include:

  • Schools have proven interest and experience in providing ITT.
  • Schools agree to the terms of the Partnership arrangements specified in the Invitation sent out each year.
  • Schools can provide evidence of good quality education (e.g. Ofsted reports).
  • ITT Co-ordinators and mentors or representatives attend training sessions as required to keep abreast of DfE, NCTL and Ofsted requirements and the entitlement of ITT trainees.

More detailed criteria of selection have been agreed by the Partnership Committee and are reviewed annually in the light of DfE/NCTL requirements for ITT Partnerships and any local developments.

The roles and responsibilities of the University and the Schools within the Partnership are described in both the Invitation to Partnership, the Memorandum of Agreement and in the Partnership Handbook (all of which are annually updated).

Monitoring of trainees’ experience is carried out through the Staff/Trainee Committee, feedback questionnaires after both Phase 1 and Phase 2 school placements and visits to schools by University Tutors. Any shortfall in the requirements are discussed with the Teacher Education Committee and Partnership Committee and are followed up by the Director of Teacher Education, the Partnership Manager and subject Programme Directors, unless urgent action is required.

9.5 Partnership Committee

An ITT Partnership Committee of representatives from teacher education at the University and from partnership schools operates under the following terms of reference:

The Committee monitors the quality of the University and school-based elements of the PGCE course and advises the Teacher Education Committee on the effectiveness of the partnership arrangements.


  • Director of Teacher Education; subject Programme Directors;  the Partnership Manager and the Partnership Secretary.
  • A minimum of seven senior staff representing schools within the Partnership.

School membership of the Committee is restricted to schools in active Partnership and representatives will reflect, where possible, the different types and geographical spread of Partnership Schools.

Terms of Reference

  1. To monitor the quality of the planning, delivery and assessment of the PGCE course.
  2. To oversee the implementation of the current DfE/NCTL requirements for ITT. 
  3. To advise on the transfer and use of resources from the University to Partnership Schools in respect of the responsibilities and requirements of ITT Partnership. 
  4. To provide advice and guidance on the continued development and enhancement of the relationship between Partnership schools and the University.
  5. To receive and consider regular reports from the Subject Advisory Groups.
  6. To bring forward for inclusion on the agenda of the Teacher Education Committee any issue which the Partnership Schools wish to be discussed and which is not otherwise represented on the agenda of that committee. 

The Committee submits reports to the Teacher Education Committee.

9.6 Staff-Trainee Committees and Feedback Procedures

Staff/Trainee Committee meetings are timed to provide feedback on the school-based experience of the trainees, as well as the University-based work. This means meetings take place in November, February and in June.

Feedback relevant to the school placements feeds into the monitoring process. This feedback plus feedback relating to the overall teaching and trainee support feeds into the Programme Review, 9.3 above).

9.7 Bought-in Teaching

The requirement to demonstrate strong partnerships with schools and to provide specific curricular coverage means that expertise and experience additional to that of full-time University staff is regularly required. All such teaching is carried out by qualified individuals with relevant school-based experience. Wherever possible there is year-on-year continuity in the use of such additional support.

9.8 Examiners of ITT Trainees

In addition to the normal University process, ITT Co-ordinators and Mentors in schools act in association with the University Tutor as examiners of the trainee for whom they are responsible in respect of those aspects of the Teacher's Standards (DfE 2011) which are best examined in the practical teaching situation. Mentors are appointed by the Headteachers of the Partnership Schools and monitored through the processes in 9.4 above.

9.9 Provision of Information

For the PGCE Programme all trainees receive:

  • PGCE Programme Handbook
  • Primary School Experience Guide
  • General Professional Studies Guide
  • Teaching Subject Guides

Trainees have access to online materials while in school,

All Partnership Schools receive a Partnership Handbook, General Professional Studies Guide, Subject Mentor Guides and other documentation concerning the training programme in any particular year.