–The education inspection regime in England is to toughen up its inspections of Teacher Training Providers as OfSTED tries to ensure that new teachers are best prepared for life in the classroom. In a speech to the North of England Education Conference, Sir Michael Wilshaw promised that the system of judgements will be toughened for all training providers:
I am announcing a review into how our inspectors will judge training providers. We will be much tougher on providers, as well as with schools that don’t adequately support those new to the profession. In my view, there is no such thing as a bad NQT, just one that is badly trained, poorly accredited and badly supported.
Sir Michael highlighted various, continuous examples of experiences which cause concern with trainee teachers:
How many times have I heard headteachers say ‘we told the provider that this trainee wasn’t up to it and didn’t have the capacity to succeed’, only to find out that this advice had been ignored and that he had progressed into the classroom’?
How many times have heads said to me that their trainees had been tutored by people with little or no up-to-date school experience or a record of outstanding teaching?
How many times have I heard that trainees have been sent into schools without proper guidance on professional behaviour or dress?
How many times have I heard that trainees have been inadequately prepared to deal with poor behaviour?
How many times have I heard trainees say that they had no idea what ‘good’ looked like because they had been sent into schools that did not employ good practice?
Even worse, how many times have I heard that, once their training was complete, NQTs were left to flounder because they received little or no support from senior and middle leaders?
Wilshaw shared the worrying statistic that an estimated 40% of new entrants leave the profession within five years, but failed to acknowledge the reasons why so many leave. In the earlier UKEdChat research, it was found that most teachers leave the profession due to impossible demands and stress related issues.
The speech continued, with a focus on assessment, and the changing curriculum requirements that impact of schools in England:
Regular testing has received a bad press in recent years, as if it were somehow separate and antithetical to the business of education. It is not. It is an essential tool that allows students and their teachers to assess progress.
And can we please bury the notion of teaching to the test? Of course, teaching to the test is terrible. It’s an inversion of a good education. But no good school teaches to the test. They expect their teachers to cover the programmes of study and schemes of work and use examinations to assess progress. Not the other way round…when inspectors visit a school, they will expect to see good formative and summative assessment.
and in a final call to teachers…
So my message to teachers at the start of the New Year is an upbeat one. Exercise your new powers. Be masters of your own destiny. Refuse to be cowed. Refuse to be victims. Refuse to be people that things happen to and become people who make things happen. Do not be frightened; assert your authority.
The full speech is available to read at the OfSTED website, by clicking here.