Alex Ford Profile picture
17 Sep, 21 tweets, 7 min read
So today I read an @Ofstednews report on an ITE partnership which has been judged inadequate. The more I think about it the more annoyed I get. Frustrated at the approach of inspectors. Angry the shortcomings of the CCF/ECF and #ITTMarketReview. Let me explain… 1
I am not disputing the judgment - for which I don’t have the evidence, but the phrasing raises some serious concerns about the thought processes of (often non-ITE specialist) inspectors and their interps of the CCF/ECF. I would have the same concerns had the outcome been good. 2
Let’s take this eg. The implication here is that once trainees have been “taught” something, they should then be expected to apply it in school. This is a very impoverished understanding of trainees and the ways in which they learn - a liner learn->do model 3
Learning models eg. Clarke and Hollingsworth (or any number of others) suggest that professional learning involves a complex and non linear interplay of beliefs, practice and external input. Just because it is taught doesn’t mean it is accepted. This nuance is absent entirely. 4
Of course the CCF/ECF exacerbate this problem with their huge lists of “learn that” & “learn how to” statements which reinforce a simplistic model.

Yet even the proponents of DI accept that social and personal aspects of learning matter a great deal to knwldge / schema devmt 5
Again the report suggests training is a simple learn->do transaction.

Equally outright rejection of pragmatism is a problem. Proper experimentation with a “pragmatic” solution is potentially valid if it involves sound professional reflection. 6
Trainees occupy tricky and often liminal spaces in schools. They are not always at liberty to dictate the approaches they want to use. They have to navigate b/w uni, mentor, host teacher, class and context. The pragmatic can free up time to reflect and improve. 7
In all honesty it can take several years for some ideas from training to sink in and be accepted. That happens when trainees embed themselves in communities of practice and continue learning - not by being told to comply with a set of “learn that” statements. 8
And sometimes trainees will just hold different purposes and priorities central to their teaching . There is no single best way to teach. There are better and worse ways to deliver particular things, but no monopoly on the purposes of education (thank God) 9
Ofsted also complain that key ideas are not revisited or don’t link well with school. This feels vague. Choosing when to introduce significance in history PGCE for eg can be a bit of a crap shoot. Every school curriculum is different in content and timing 10
Choosing a time to introduce significance so that everyone then gets a chance to “apply”
that “learning” in school the following week would be impossible without direct control of the curricula of dozens of schools. There cannot always be a learn->do cycle as suggested. 11
The language is also unhelpful. What exactly would effective sequencing look like. I’d put safe money on the fact that 95% of inspectors would not be able to suggest a more appropriate alternative. I suspect there are magic words which are or are not being said. 12
Ofsted also suggest that part of the problem lies with mentors who are not supportive or not knowledgeable about university approaches. The uni is blamed here for not sharing the curriculum and checking compliance. OK, let’s unpick that too… 13
Anyone working in ITE knows mentor teams are extremely important but also v fragile. Mentors knowing the course well takes time and dedication. It is v hard to create coherence where mentors change constantly, work with multiple providers, or schools shift in and out of pship. 14
And this is before we deal with the issues of mentor time - both for mentoring and release for training. This is partly addressed in the ECF but is left unaddressed in ITE where it is the provider’s sole responsibility. No time and money? Expect mentoring to suffer. 15
Had the #ITTMarketReview wanted to be of any use it might productively have investigated issues of mentoring and resourcing. Here’s 8 qus which cld have been asked of sch/ment/ITE

1) How are mentors prepared for roles?
2) How much time are mentors given for their roles? 16
3) Are mentors invited or do they get press ganged?
4) How does the university fund and invest in mentoring?
5) How do schools choose partners to work with?
6) Are mentors expected to attend training?
7) How long do mentors stay in post?
8) How stable are school-ITE parnshps? 17
If we had some wide scale response to even some of these questions we might have a far better idea of the challenges faced by schools, ITE and mentors but also of means to begin to solve such issues. We don’t, but Ofsted continue to suggest these unknowns are solvable. 18
Just like the school framework, the new ITE framework focuses on curriculum. But, as Michael Young (one of the key drivers behind the move to this focus) has noted in schools, the curriculum approach is failing not from lack of thinking but lack of investment. 19
I am not defending poor quality ITE. What I am saying is that some of these lines of enquiry and comments get us no closer to establishing whether or not the ITE is in fact good quality. Worse, they risk simplistic responses from ITE sector looking to secure futures 20
We have a perfect storm approaching in ITE. A substandard content framework, a poorly resourced and narrowly focused inspectorate, and a market review providing solutions to problems it hasn’t bothered to research. This needs to change: urgently! 21 @nadhimzahawi @UCET_UK

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More from @apf102

13 Jul
A few things to take issue with @StuartLock (and choosing to ignore the use of "histrionics")
1) On what metric is ITT quality too low, or curriculum poor? What would be an acceptable measure of quality + what % of the sector should be meeting this? Recent inspections are v pos
2) Heresy normally involves challenging an orthodoxy. The orthodoxy in the DfE has been that ITT is poor ever since Michael Gove took on the role of Secretary of State. This is also the orthodoxy of a vocal portion of Twitter.
3) Let's unpick the issues with the suggestions beyond the evidnece base:
a) ITT should indeed have evidence-led curricula but following the CCF (a static document) takes us away from that. You cannot follow an explicit plan AND be led by unfolding evidnece.
Read 14 tweets
13 Jul
Some thoughts on ITT/ITE: a thread on changing my mind based on evidence.

When I first completed my teacher training, I felt I felt woefully unprepared for the first school I worked in. I was leading a department of one with little guidance and the behaviour was awful /1
For many years I held my training responsible. In some ways it was. I had little subject specific input and was asked to do like very little subject specific reading. This was highlighted in my 3rd year when I joined a highly trained dept. /2
There was also definitely an emphasis on learning styles and other edu fads so common in the mid 00s. Sometimes these were critically evaluated, other times not. /3
Read 13 tweets
6 Jul
Right. Back to the ITT Market Review. What delights does Part 2 hold?

First on reorganisation it is interesting that HEIs are presumably lumped under this category of "other" desspite HEIs accounting for 75% of all training and being the most effeciently organsied already /1
Let's talk efficiency for a moment. 70 accredited (!!) HEIs already train an average of 443 trainees each. The average SCITT trains just 59. It feels like there may be an obvious instrastructure advantage to one model here... /2
This seems like a major push to TS hubs being central to ITT delivery and monitoring the design and delivery of curriculum. This is a strange choice if we are to believe that research evidence is menat to drive practice. Will schools be defacto unis? /3
Read 23 tweets
6 Jul
A few years back I surveyed 253 people on experiences of ITE. Here's what I found:
1) Quality of training was seen to generally be good or better and improved after a dip in the 2000s
2) Secondary teachers (213) were even more positive about their training (not in all routes)
These findings seem to challegne much of the discourse in the recent ITT Market Review Report, and a good deal of the discussion I have seen flying about today. But there is more...
3) Subejct input is identified as key in the ITT Report. Quality of subject specific input seems to decline over time
4) Yet to unpack, subejct specifc was still strong in HEIs followed by SD-uni partnerships
5) Still true when controlling for recent trainees
Read 7 tweets
5 Jul
Stuck waiting on a wakeful baby so time to read the ITT Review. Immediate flaws in premise. First that CCF is hardly ambitious when compared to most decent ITE programmes and is narrow and not subject specific. Second that ITE already needs to show they have met demands of CCF /1
The reason that we have an inefficient ITE market is largely down to the DfE deciding to widen the pool of providers hugely. Surely the survival of multiple providers supports free market principles which were supposed to drive this reform. Now DfE wants central control again /2
I am assuming this is the DfE admitting it’s own accreditation is inadequate and has been for the last 10 years? If not then we already have a system of accreditation and Ofsted check the aspects listed here. Does the DfE have no faith in the inspectorate? /3
Read 19 tweets
28 Feb
So I spent a good hour today being amazed by the fascinating @MyHeritage tech which brings old photos to life (see the Alan Turing example below). It was seemingly miraculous. All of this got me to musing on the nature of history because...Sunday. (A thread)
As you will note, the way in which the pictures are brought to life by the tech is uncanny. Almost immediately I felt a sense of connection with people being shown, despite their remoteness in time. Others expressed a similar feelings of connection.
The way in which the people depicted suddenly seem more human when they move naturally is similar to the effect created in films like “They Shall Not Grow Old” or these computer enhanced films from 1901, where AI fills in the gaps to create lifelike motion
Read 17 tweets

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