Ofsted publishes new ITT inspection framework consultation and research

04 February 2020

Ofsted implemented a new Education Inspection Framework (EIF) in September 2019 and is now in the process of updating its Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Inspection Framework 

Consultation: Ofsted teacher training inspection framework

The new ITE Inspection Framework will align with the EIF and the Department for Education’s standards, including the Early Career Framework.

Like the EIF, the proposed new ITT Inspection Framework has a much greater emphasis on the curriculum than the previous framework. Ofsted is using the language of curriculum intent, implementation and impact, which is used in the EIF.

We welcome the increase of focus on curriculum and subject knowledge that Ofsted is proposing in this draft framework as a way of improving the quality of arts teaching at primary level.

Teacher training issues

Currently the CLA and our members are concerned about how little time is spent preparing primary teachers to teach arts subjects, and the impact of this on the quality of primary provision. This chimes with Ofsted’s research findings (see below) which suggest that the quality of ITE suffers when foundation subjects are not taught well to trainees. 

In the Arts-Rich Schools report launched by the RSA on 27 January, primary head teachers voiced their belief that the current system of teacher training does not prepare newly qualified teachers to teach arts subjects, and the December 2018 Ofsted curriculum research found that arts subjects at primary level were not being delivered to the same high standards as maths and English. Better training and CPDL (continuing professional development and learning) for arts teachers is one of our Key Asks.

New judgements

The draft framework proposes that ITE providers will be judged on their ‘overall effectiveness’ which is based on two key judgements of ‘quality of education and training’ and ‘leadership and management’. The quality of education and training judgement replaces the current ‘outcomes for trainees’ and ‘quality of training across the partnership’ judgements.

A good judgement in quality of education requires that ‘The ITE curriculum introduces trainees to the scope and richness of the knowledge that pupils can acquire in each subject.’

‘The ITE curriculum provides a systematic and critical introduction to key educational traditions, practices and debates within the trainees’ specialist subject(s) and/or phase(s). It ensures that subject knowledge is sufficient to enable trainees to identify and evaluate content for their teaching, considering matters of scope, coherence, sequencing and emphasis. Trainees will be taught to identify appropriate pedagogies that secure the curriculum intent.’ Draft Ofsted Initial teacher education inspection framework and handbook

Respond to the consultation

The Ofsted consultation will close on 3 April. You can respond online. A new ITE framework will be published in summer 2020, with inspections under the new framework beginning from January 2021.

Research: Building great teachers?

Over the past year Ofsted has been researching how to measure the quality of initial teacher training (ITT). On 14 January it published Building great teachers? Initial teacher education curriculum research: phase 2. The findings of the research echo CLA concerns about the lack of training for primary teachers to deliver arts subjects.


The phase two research tested 22 curriculum indicators to see if they could be used to make decisions about the quality of an ITT provider’s curriculum. Previously indicators used have been employment outcomes and completion rates; however Ofsted has found no relationship between curriculum quality and these outcomes.

The research involved visits to 46 ITE partnerships, including 24 school-centred initial teacher training providers (SCITTs), 20 higher education institutions (HEIs) and two Teach First partnerships.

Subject knowledge

As the CLA and our members have previously highlighted, a weakness of initial teacher education (ITE) is the lack of time spent preparing primary teachers to teach arts subjects.

Ofsted reports in this research that they:

‘… found more weaknesses in ITE curriculum quality in programmes for primary school trainees. Unsurprisingly, this was related to the limited amount of coverage provided across the foundation subjects.


‘Quite often, there was simply a general absence or very little time provided in the ITE curriculum for non-core subjects.’

The report goes on to say the evidence they have suggests that three-year routes to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) are more effective at preparing trainees to become effective primary teachers than one-year courses. However, it also notes that the ‘more impressive partnerships had developed efficient systems to mitigate against a narrow primary ITE curriculum offer’ and that:

‘The strongest partnerships mitigated this by offering additional subject sessions, making sure that placements were geared towards providing trainees with opportunities to teach foundation subjects and linking trainees’ progression with professional development courses in their NQT year.’

HEI and SCITT strengths

The research found that subject knowledge and subject-specific pedagogy was a strength of HEIs (higher education institutions) compared to SCITT (school-centred initial teacher training providers), but that SCITTs tended to be stronger at delivering the other aspects of teacher training such as behaviour management and teaching pupils with SEND.

‘HEI providers in our sample were more likely to be producing a curriculum of sufficient depth and coverage across core teaching elements (indicator 5a) and planning effectively for trainees’ progression through the training programme (indicator 5b). In around half of the SCITTs visited, inspectors noted weaknesses in the breadth of their curriculums.’


The research concludes that high quality ITT needs strong partnerships with good communication between the provider and placement schools, and to include:

  • effective sequencing of the curriculum
  • well-trained mentors
  • providers to prioritise the needs of a trainee over the needs of a partner setting

Read the full report.