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Access and Participation Statement

The vision of the National Institute of Teaching is to nurture the talents of teachers and leaders at all stages of their careers so that they can provide children with the world class education they deserve. We will do this by generating and disseminating the best research on teacher development and using these research insights in our own programmes. We will deliver the “Golden Thread” of professional development from Initial Teacher Training through to development for system leaders. Our community of teachers will make a significant, sustainable and positive contribution to teacher development in the future as well as to the pupils they serve.

We will build on the successful track record of our Founding Multi-Academy Trusts (FMATs) to recruit cohorts of trainee teachers and participants who reflect the diversity of our school system, provide them with an innovative, contemporary, research-informed curriculum, and support them into their first teaching posts. Through our professional development programmes we will continue to engage with them at each stage of their careers. We want to create a teaching and learning community which listens is inclusive, appropriately self-critical and innovative.

Our broad geographical spread and our diverse student body are important elements in defining our ethos. The FMATs have a shared vision to transform education for the pupils they serve especially those that face disadvantages in education. The Institute shares and follows through on this commitment. We will develop an Institute which is based on shared and embedded values of inclusivity and educational excellence and which is committed to the closure of attainment gaps. We will use our collective experience in developing a strong and cohesive team in which trainees and tutors have an equal voice and which moves collectively to the achievement of our strategic goals.

Our Mission and Vision

Our Mission is to improve the quality of teacher and leader development at a system level. We will do this by generating and interpreting research, applying the insights to the design and delivery of high-quality teacher development programmes, and sharing it all with the sector.

Our Vision is a school system that nurtures the talents of teachers and leaders at all stages of their careers, so they can provide children with the world-class education they deserve.

Spread and reach

The Institute has a national reach through our four regions:

  • North and West – campus in Blackburn
  • North and East – campuses in Redcar and Doncaster
  • East, South and London – campus in south London
  • South and West – campuses in Bristol and Birmingham

Entrants to our ITT programmes will be drawn from the areas served by each of the Regional Campuses and will be locally based through their training with us. Through the School-Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) of our FMATs, we already have a very successful track record in recruiting and training ethnic minority students and those who face challenges in accessing higher education. We will build on these existing strengths as we develop our national profile and impact.

The ethos and structure of the Institute is based on a strong network of partnerships with:

  • The University of Birmingham
  • Associate Colleges
  • Specialist Partners
  • System stakeholders
  • The Department for Education

Alongside our Regional Campuses sit a number of associate colleges which are central to our success in delivering innovative teacher training and onward career development, together with providing employment opportunities for our successful graduates. They are an important element in our ‘cold spot’ coverage and underpin further our local integration. They will ensure that our provision reaches communities where participation rates in higher education have traditionally been lower. The colleges will also have representation on our College Advisory Groups.

Our founding MATs have a very successful track record of recruiting minority ethnic trainees to our programmes and we will continue to build on our diverse recruitment, coupled with a focus on attracting more trainees declaring a disability, and those from low participation and low socioeconomic status groups. We will also attract those that are changing career to begin as teachers after successful careers elsewhere.

Our contract with the Department for Education stipulates that we will ‘exemplify delivery approaches that meet the needs of all participants’ and that we will ‘design and deliver training in a way that supports the diversity of the teaching workforce, enabling participants from all backgrounds to thrive in their careers.’ Examples of our commitment to this include our offer of full and part time routes, supporting flexibility in ITT as well as using the Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeship (PGTA) route which lowers the financial burden on individuals entering the profession. We will focus on making a real difference across hard-to-reach communities and disadvantaged areas by leveraging both our national footprint and the local communities that surround our FMATs and associate colleges.

We will ensure a focus on inclusivity at all stages of our engagement with applicants and trainees.

Our FMATs and associate colleges are already successful in recruiting from minority and hard-to-reach groups and we will continue to build on this success. Our Campus School Placement Officers will also work with associate colleges and the wider sector to source partner and placement schools to expand the range of opportunities available to our trainees.

We will build on our existing track record of attracting trainees from the following groups:

  • Trainees from lower socioeconomic backgrounds: We will develop interventions to widen participation, including targeted recruitment campaigns in social mobility cold-spots and publicising the positive career journeys of those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, providing inspiration and aspiration;
  • Ethnic Minorities: We will continue our strong recruitment of individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds through mentorship and the creation of peer networks as well as the use of alumni from our programmes and targeted marketing through our academies in areas of high ethnic minority representation;
  • Career-changers: Research shows that career changers have put down roots in a particular area. Therefore, our regional school-led model mitigates against long travel for in-person sessions, increasing participation for those with travel restrictions. Delivery of programmes will be flexible to give accessibility to part-time and flexible workers, and those with caring commitments;
  • Geographically isolated participants: Virtual recruitment and community events will help drive demand and create a sense of community from initial prospect and throughout the trainee journey. Our commitment to digital delivery alongside in person delivery ensures that those in isolated communities can access high quality provision; and,
  • Disabled trainees: We will develop strategies to increase the number of trainees declaring a disability and to provide a supportive environment in their training and in their school experience as well as working with them to provide assistive technologies that support success in their learning.

Teaching, Learning and Research

Our teaching, learning and research interrelationships underpin all of our student-facing activity and have a solid foundation based on successful delivery of school-based PGCE programmes. Our ITT programme is designed and delivered through our campuses by leaders from some of the UK’s most successful and top-performing schools and multi-academy trusts. The programme is built on the ITT Core Content Framework (CCF) with a curriculum designed to ensure full coverage of the CCF and which enables trainees to revisit key content on multiple occasions to secure core knowledge and skills, building expertise gradually over time. However, it also extends from the CCF to include units which ensure trainee success in different contexts be they geographic, mainstream or special schools. For example, our curriculum focuses on teaching successfully to meet the needs of all pupils but especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds. This includes our focus on cognitive science and literacy which provide vital building blocks for pupils in their learning.

A critical element of our teaching and learning strategy is the close interrelationship between our research and best practice function, and programme design and delivery. Our approach includes:

  • Building capacity, capability and incentives for engagement with our research within colleges, for example including a percentage of key delivery roles for appropriate training, time to implement new evidence-based practices and engage with upcoming research priorities;
  • Our programme developers designing new practices for testing by our research team;
  • Opportunities for programme participants and deliverers to be involved in our research (e.g. generating questions, supporting data collection, as a research participant, or expert panel member) whilst maintaining our focus on quality, transparency and independence; and,
  • In time we will develop a track that allows more people to undertake Masters and doctoral study and ensuring that cost is not a barrier to entry and pursuit of further qualifications.

We aim to generate high-quality evidence about teacher development and mobilise that evidence to improve outcomes across English schools.

Our research and best practice function is based on three important principles:

  • It is led by schools and for schools;
  • We are committed to high standards of transparency and peer review of our research; and,
  • We work in partnership with schools and providers in our programme delivery network.

We aim to be a leading centre for research on professional development in the education sector and to achieve this with high standards of research, matching the expectations of the best of the Higher Education sector. Our purpose is to provide a public good and to support all aspects of professional development in education. This includes disseminating our research in multiple ways so that it benefits the entire systems not just those parts that are closely connected to research. As agreed with the DfE we are developing a detailed theory of change for how we expect our research activities to succeed, and key performance indicators for steps in that theory.

We have already initiated three substantive projects:

  • an in-depth review of mentoring in schools;
  • a rapid pilot of approaches to intensive practice and evaluation; and,
  • a data-infrastructure development project.

We will mobilise the accumulated evidence to inform the design and delivery of our programmes, thus impacting directly on the experience of our trainees, and ensuring that our programmes remain contemporary and responsive to national and local needs.

Financial support

Our business planning assumes the allocation of initially 3% of fee income for trainee support, including a hardship fund, rising to 5% of fee income by 2027-28. The support funds will be overseen by the Executive team and the impact of our interventions will be evaluated on an annual basis.

We will be targeting in particular:

Trainees from low-participation areas

Our plans include the following aspects to attract, retain and accelerate those from low participation areas to success and employment:

  • Targeted recruitment campaigns in trust and associate college schools which are in areas of low participation. This has proved valuable in recruitment to SCITT already with former pupils, parents/carers, siblings, community members and non-teaching staff recognising the opportunity to become a teacher;
  • The targeted use of alumni from our SCITT programmes who are from local communities. These powerful advocates provide motivation and confidence for others to follow in their footsteps;
  • Ensuring we lower barriers to recruitment and interview activities by allowing online interviews or local interviews to save long and costly travel;
  • A dedicated hardship fund to support trainees on their courses including technology and travel to placements schools or the local Institute base;
  • Intensive and effective use of technology negating the need for extensive travel to training;
  • A laptop loan scheme for those without devices to access quality online material and live online sessions;
  • Progress checks every two weeks from a tutor. These assess trainee progress and next steps as well as being a pastoral check-in to ensure that there are no barriers to success by the end of the year. This has been a strength of our provision in the past and frequently cited by External Examiners;
  • Termly reviews to formally monitor progress of all trainees and also the progress of certain target groups to ensure effective progress. Termly reviews are a three-way discussion and assessment between tutor, school mentor and trainee. The individual results are then aggregated to assess cohort progress and changes made where appropriate for the following term/year; and,
  • Trainee surveys undertaken once per term and trainee forum events to provide feedback on the programme quality and satisfaction of trainees. Surveys will be analysed according to ethnicity, disability and age as well as other protected characteristics. This will allow the Institute to analyse satisfaction levels and make changes to support progress and retention of trainees.

Ethnic minority trainees

On recruitment, we will undertake some of the same strategies as outlined above including the use of alumni from those communities as well as targeting through schools and multi-academy trusts. We will target our recruitment of current undergraduates at universities with high densities of ethnic minority students that are located in one of our regions.

We have taken an inclusive approach to our curriculum to ensure it reflects the diversity of the teaching profession and the schools we serve. Tutors are trained to ensure they build inclusive training environments through effective facilitation, and they also monitor school placements to ensure that they are inclusive in nature. This is one of the deciding factors before the Institute places a trainee in a school. The monitoring of progress, termly reviews and survey analysis will ensure that the voices of all trainees including those from ethnic minority backgrounds are heard and built into evaluation and continuous improvement cycles.

Trainees with a declared disability

On recruitment, we will monitor applicants’ specific needs to support a positive training experience and our offer of online and in-person interviews will underpin our commitment to greater inclusivity. All our in-person environments are disability-friendly.

On the curriculum we assess all language especially with reference to special educational needs to ensure that trainees with declared disabilities do not feel excluded or ‘othered’ by discussions. We will be working with specialist partners including the Eden Academies Trust to support our curriculum and delivery. Eden are specialists in the field of education for pupils with declared disabilities.

We will ensure that assistive technology is utilised and specific needs are addressed to ensure greater likelihood of success. Trainees with declared disabilities will have a needs assessment before the course begins and we will monitor their progress closely to ensure that wherever possible the Institute is removing barriers to success.

Supporting our trainees

We are an inclusive community of learners based on mutual trust and respect and in which the student voice will be heard and acted upon. We are committed to ensuring that each of our trainees derives the maximum benefit from their time with us and we believe that this cannot be achieved without their involvement in all aspects of the Institute’s operation including access and participation, marketing, recruitment, governance and academic processes.

Our trainees will encounter a supportive environment from their first contact with us, throughout their professional classroom development, into their first employment, and in subsequent career development. Each of our four regional campuses has the same set of advisory and support processes and personnel, including: Support and Wellbeing Officers; a Participant Experience Lead; Heads of Programmes; School Placement and Community Engagement Officers, and In-House Excellence Fellows (to provide academic and pastoral support).

The following measures and mechanisms will be in place to ensure that we continue to provide a supportive environment for all our participants and trainees:

Developing a 360-degree view of participants: In-school mentors and leaders will be best placed to identify participants at risk of withdrawal and provide the requisite support. This will be combined with tutor support and oversight from NIoT staff. Multiple views will be gathered on our Student LMS which will track participant progress and engagement to identify at-risk participants.

Student support and wellbeing: A Central Student Support and Wellbeing Lead will work with dedicated campus wellbeing leads to provide pastoral care (counselling, financial advice, etc) to all participants across all parts of their journey.

Being part of a wider network: Participants are part of a wider educational community. We will provide regular opportunities for regional and national networking through face-to-face events and digital platforms. We will facilitate peer-to-peer support for participants at risk of withdrawal.

Support for underrepresented groups: We will provide specific interventions for underrepresented groups more at risk of withdrawal (e.g. mentorship). We will facilitate peer-to-peer support networks such as affinity groups and buddying.

Flexible provision: Flexible provision will be accessible to part-time participants and those with additional caring responsibilities. We will aim to accommodate changes of circumstances, placing participants in schools that are best able to accommodate their needs where possible.

The Institute’s Marketing team will provide applicants with information on fees (and financial support including hardship funds); the structure of the Institute and its constituent Campuses; course content, including assessment methodologies; all pastoral and support services available to them; and opportunities for student involvement in governance matters. Applicants will have the opportunity to submit questions to members of staff teaching on the programme and will be able to make an introductory visit to their local Campus.

On admission to the Institute trainees will follow a locally delivered induction programme (standardised for the whole Institute) which will serve both as social function to enable trainees to meet their peers and also to provide further information on the operational aspects of their course and the support services available to them. They will also be allocated to their In-House Fellow and will commence their one-to-one and group tutorial meetings.

Trainees will be consulted on, and involved in, our access and participation work through their representation on Institute boards and committees. They will also play a role in evaluating the impact of our access initiatives through their involvement in the annual monitoring cycle which is a key component of our management and governance structure. Participation of trainees in our deliberative and decision-making processes are central to our thinking and elected trainee representatives will be members of all boards and committees with the exception of Assessment and Awards Boards.

We will make use of various modes of communication with trainees pre- and post-enrolment, including email; face-face information sessions; social media, web pages and intranet resources via our portal. The trainee representatives on our boards and committees will also be an important means of communication of ongoing issues to the wider body of trainees and participants. The agendas and subsequent minutes of all committees on which students are represented will be available on the Institute’s intranet, and students will be able to raise any issues of concern via their elected representatives; the In-House Excellence Fellows; the Staff-Student Liaison Committees and the Programme Board(s).

The Institute’s regional engagement and impact

The OfS states in its Regulatory Notice 1 (p 31):

“Higher education providers with the capacity and capability are encouraged to support state schools where there are a high proportion of underrepresented students. This can be achieved through sustainable and reciprocal partnerships which draw on the expertise and specialisms they have available. These may be professional or pedagogical such as through teaching, curriculum, leadership, or other targeted partnership activity. Providers must state their evidence-informed theory of change detailing how the collaboration with schools is related to increased access to higher education and where there are measurable intermediate and longer-term outcomes.”

This plays to one of the great strengths of the Institute and our distributed regional and national network. We will recruit our trainee teachers locally, take them through an innovative training programme, cycle them back into the school system, and further develop them through their early and later careers through our professional development programme. The fact that the Institute is borne out of four Multi-Academy trusts cements further the relationship and close partnership between schools and the Institute. This is also the case for our Associate Colleges which are all Multi-Academy trusts or Teaching School Hubs and, therefore, rooted in schools and the success of their pupils.

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