popular alternative route into teaching. But in a new report
published this week, Ofsted inspectors warn that weaknesses in the
training programme are preventing a minority of trainee teachers
Flexible Postgraduate Initial Teacher Training has found the numbers
on flexible training courses has risen from 657 in 2000/01 when they
were first introduced, to 2,356 in 2003/04. This route is a favourite
choice for many people with children or commitments preventing them
from completing a full-time PGCE course.
The survey rated four fifths of training placements as good or very
good and inspectors described the schools involved as committed, with
experienced staff. The selection process was also praised for its
rigour in ensuring all trainees are of a high standard.
However, while all trainees seen are making satisfactory progress
towards achieving Qualified Teacher Status, many are not reaching the
highest possible standards because of flaws in the training
The initial training plans developed at the start of the course are
often a weak feature, with only a quarter being good and a third
rating unsatisfactory. Inspectors noted the quality of school based
training is too varied and quality assurance was commonly another
weak area of the training programme.
Chief inspector David Bell said:
'I'm pleased at how successful flexible postgraduate teacher training
has been in recruiting talented people whose circumstances prevent
them from taking a standard full- time course to become a qualified
'Today's report praises the high quality of trainees and recognises
their commitment and enthusiasm.
'However, the recommendations in this report must be taken seriously
to improve the standard of provision and enable all trainees to reach
their full potential.'
The following recommendations were made to ensure flexible training
is of a consistently high quality:
- the initial assessment of trainees must be rigorous to ensure that
their flexible training programme meets their individual needs and
meets the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) standards;
- trainees must receive a detailed training plan, which presents them
with a clear and manageable programme of training, including
- all tutors should be provided with the necessary time to make
sufficient and effective visits to trainees during their school
- school-based trainers should be aware of the structure and
requirements of the whole training programme and are fully trained
and supported by the provider in training, monitoring and assessing
- everyone involved in the training should have a good understanding
of the final assessment procedures;
- rigorous quality assurance and evaluation are required for all
aspects of the provision, and it is necessary to ensure that
evidence arising from this is used to help make improvements in the
Mr Bell concluded:
'It is clear that the flexible training courses mostly place trainees
in good quality placements. I hope that training providers will now
secure the necessary improvements so that all these trainees have
rigorous programmes that prepare them fully for the classroom.'
1. Flexible Postgraduate Initial Teacher Training (ITT) courses were
introduced by the Teacher Training Agency (TTA) in October 2000 as a
new route to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). The courses provide an
alternative, more flexible, route to becoming a teacher. On
completion of their training, trainees must demonstrate that they
meet the standards for Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), in the same
way as trainees on other courses.
2. The report Flexible Postgraduate Initial Teacher Training
summarises the findings from a survey of providers. As part of the
survey HMI visited 12 providers of flexible ITT, eight of which
offered secondary training, three offered primary training and one
covered both phases.