Manchester Institute of Education statement on the Initial Teacher Training Market Review Report

The past two years have presented Initial Teacher Training (ITT) partnerships with unprecedented challenges, and we have worked collaboratively to continue to secure positive outcomes for our trainee teachers and to ensure future teacher supply for our region.

At a time when we should be celebrating our enormous successes and achievements, however, we are faced with the report of the Expert Advisory Group (EAG) of the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Market Review; the consultation period of which takes place during the summer vacation period.

Many people involved in the training of new teachers have expressed deep concerns about the recommendations of the Review’s report and Manchester Institute of Education (MIE) stands by the sector’s concerns. There is little evidence as to why this review was deemed necessary; prior to the Market Review, Ofsted judged every single teacher education partnership as ‘good’ or better. 

Initial Teacher Education (ITT) at the University of Manchester has a successful history, dating right back to 1858 when Her Majesty’s Inspectorate suggested that Owens College should offer courses for intending teachers in elementary schools. As such, it is believed that The University of Manchester established one of the first teacher education programmes within a university and the strong moral purpose of equity and tackling disadvantage through teacher education is embedded in our history. ITT at Manchester Institute of Education (MIE) exists within a research- and evidence-based critical environment that draws on expertise from across the institute and has a direct impact on the schools within our partnership and beyond.

We have an excellent track record with regard to ITE provision and are well equipped to continue to develop programmes that meet the diverse needs of our trainees and partnerships. We have established strong and mutually beneficial partnerships with schools in the Greater Manchester region and beyond, with over 300 schools involved in training each year. A significant percentage of the schools have been in partnership with us for extended periods of time, with the breadth of the partnership schools ranging from small, rural schools to large city centre community schools.

Opportunities within the wide range of diverse partnerships mean that trainees have opportunities to learn about special educational needs and disabilities, English as an additional language, Early years foundation stage and other key experiences. Over the years, thousands of our trainees have gone on to secure employment within the region,

Whilst we support the desire for the consistency of excellent standards across all ITT programmes, we are concerned that the Market Review proposes moving to a single, potentially homogenous national approach to curriculum, delivery and assessment of ITT. This would undermine some of the fundamental aspects of our high-quality teacher training provision; in particular the: 

  • ability for us to develop a PGCE Curriculum that responds to local and trainee teacher needs and aligns with the vision and values of the University;
  • ability to work collaboratively within our partnership to devise appropriate models of professional placements;
  • research and enquiry based dimensions of our programmes, which provide trainees with a curriculum that exceeds the minimum, as described by the core content framework, and facilitates opportunities for trainee choice and the development of teacher agency;

Our vision of ITE is ‘empowering future generations’. In order for this vision to become a reality, we cannot afford to have our autonomy compromised when it comes to preparing teachers for the classroom, nor do we want to accept a more marginalised role for HEI’s in providing training.

The Manchester Institute of Education will robustly engage with the consultation of the Market Review of ITT and continue to work alongside local schools to meet their needs, the needs of our trainees and the needs of the teaching profession more widely. Given that there is no evidence regarding poor quality ITT provision, as determined by the Government’s own benchmarks, we recommend that the Government immediately halt consideration of the Review’s recommendations.

Professor Steve Jones, Head of Manchester Institute of Education
Dr Lisa Murtagh, Head of ITE, Manchester Institute of Education

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