OU wins reprieve

January 23, 1998

AN OPEN University teacher training course has failed part of its quality inspection by the Office for Standards in Education. But the Teacher Training Agency has decided not to withdraw funds.

"The TTA board decided not to start procedures for the withdrawal of accreditation from the OU," said a spokesman. This would have resulted in the loss of funding. Instead the TTA has asked Ofsted to reinspect the OU's courses during this academic year.

The Ofsted inspection of the secondary science initial teacher training course found that the quality of the OU's assessment of its students' competences was "poor". It pointed to "great variation" in the quality of students' assignments awarded the same mark and said that work "is not marked by specialists able to comment in subject-specific terms".

The inspectors found that the OU was failing to comply with regulations set out by the secretary of state which rule that "no degree or other qualification leading to qualified teacher status should be awarded unless the student has demonstrated in the classroom the ability to teach effectively and secure effective learning; and the ability to manage pupil behaviour".

The OU has set out an "action plan" for improvement. A spokesman said the OU was confident that its review would "eliminate the inconsistencies apparent in grades awarded to many ITT providers in the last round of inspections".

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