Teaching checks streamlined

September 11, 1998

The Teacher Training Agency has had to re-draft its framework for quality assessment after consultation revealed that universities have been rejecting students with non-traditional qualifications for fear of being penalised by inspectors, writes Phil Baty.

In response to the TTA's consultation on the proposed new Ofsted inspection framework, 45 per cent of training providers said that they had concerns about plans for the inspection of institutions' selection procedures and admissions policies.

"Some thought their (inspection) grades would be adversely affected if they recruited trainees with non-standard (eg non A-levels) qualifications," the TTA said in a report on conclusions drawn from the consultation. But the TTA said that the concerns were based on "misapprehensions" about the purpose of the assessments.

"The focus of the assessment will be on the quality and effectiveness of the processes used to secure appropriate trainees," the TTA said.

Nevertheless, "the TTA board has agreed drafting changes to make these points clearer".

The proposed new framework, which includes plans to simplify inspections, was generally welcomed by respondents to the consultation.

But 20 per cent of respondents rejected the framework and called for a "fundamental review" of the whole teacher training inspection system. They complained that they had not been consulted fully, and demanded a system with proper peer review in line with quality inspections for the rest of higher education.

The TTA said that such a fundamental change would be inappropriate.

More than a third of respondents agreed with the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals' criticism that it was unfair to hold teacher training institutions responsible for the classroom performance of new teachers.

Despite this strong opposition to the plan, the TTA said that "the key indicator of quality in initial teacher training is how well trainees perform as teachers at the end of their course".

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