Exeter takes the TTA to task

March 2, 2001

The University of Exeter has started court proceedings against the Teacher Training Agency after it threatened to withdraw its accreditation of the university.

Exeter is applying to the High Court for a judicial review of the TTA's decision to start procedures for the withdrawal.

If it loses accreditation, the university's courses will no longer lead to qualified teacher status.

The TTA decided to start the procedures after the university's four-year primary BA (Ed) course received a poor report from inspection agency Ofsted. The report, which focused on generalist training in English, found that two out of five "cells" did not comply with government criteria.

If accreditation is withdrawn, it would affect other areas of Exeter's provision, including the postgraduate certificate of education. The TTA's guidelines say: "Withdrawal of accreditation means that no course offered by the provider can thereafter lead to qualified teacher status."

The TTA's decision angered the university, particularly as the undergraduate course is being discontinued. The final intake was last October.

Exeter said in a statement that it was not contesting the result of the Ofsted inspection, but added: "The subsequent action by the TTA is disproportionate and unreasonable, with grave consequences for the school of education."

It said the school was one of the leading providers of initial teacher training in the country, with strengths in many shortage areas. "All this is put at risk... on the basis of one inspection of one component of a degree course that is closing," it said.

But the TTA stressed that the fact that procedures have been started did not necessarily mean accreditation would be withdrawn.

It said: "It is more a formal warning that accreditation may be withdrawn should the provider fail to rectify the non-compliance by the time of the follow-up inspection."

The next stage for Exeter is a re-inspection by Ofsted, which is now under way, with results expected in summer. If it meets the criteria this time, the TTA will not withdraw accreditation.

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