What is the Institute of Teaching?
On 2nd January 2021, the Department for Education (DfE) announced that an Institute of Teaching was to be established.
The Institute of Teaching will become England’s flagship teacher training and development provider, showcasing exemplary delivery of the Government’s ambitious reforms through the new ITT Core Content Framework and Early Career Framework, and its changes to National Professional Qualifications (NPQs).
Introduced one-to-two months before the announcement of the 81 remaining teaching schools hubs, completing the national roll-out of 87 hubs across England, the introduction of an Institute of Teaching raises some questions about their relationship and the potential for duplication: both hubs and the Institute are involved in ITT, ECF and NPQ delivery. But, the DfE's market engagement event on 20th January 2021, for organisations and/or consortium interesting in leading the Institute of Teaching, started to give some clarity about the relationship between these two DfE-funded organisations.
The Institute of Teaching will have at least four regional campuses, compared to 87 teaching school hubs.
In the Department’s Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, DfE committed to improving their offer to all schools and teachers, ensuring that they receive high-quality training and development at every stage of their career. The Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework will ensure that new entrants to the profession receive training based on the best available evidence. The implementation of the Early Career Framework (ECF) reforms will support teachers in the first years of their career with a structured two-year induction. The reformed suite of National Professional Qualifications (NPQs), and the NPQH Additional Support Offer for New Head Teachers, are designed to help all teachers and school leaders to continue to develop their expertise throughout their careers.
Together, these reforms will root teacher training and development in a shared, evidence-informed understanding of what works. This approach will enable more teachers to benefit from clearer and more coherent progression routes, linked to a consistent offer of structured, high-status professional qualifications.
Complementing these reforms, the Department will support the creation of a new independent organisation, provisionally referred to as an Institute of Teaching, from September 2022. Through a procurement exercise, the Department will select a supplier, or consortium of suppliers, to establish and run the Institute. They expect the Institute to be established by existing high-quality providers, and to build on the best provision in the system.
What about the teaching school hubs?
The DfE stated:
The Teaching School Hub programme will create a national network of 87 centres of excellence for teacher training and development. These are expected to play a crucial role in supporting the delivery of ITT, the ECF and NPQs, as well as delivering additional continuing professional development and Appropriate Body services.
The Institute hasn't changed the Hub's place in the system. In fact, DfE went on to say:
...it will be crucial for the Institute to work closely and in collaboration with key teacher development providers such as Teaching School Hubs.
What will the Institute's role be?
The DfE stated the Institute will have two principal roles:
- Exemplifying delivery of teacher development reforms. We expect the Institute to be unique in having the capacity and remit to be at the cutting edge of delivery, scrutinising and developing the evidence base to identify the very best approaches to delivery.
- The Institute will have a dedicated, key role in developing and disseminating evidence about delivery of teacher development. We know that developing this evidence base is critical and that this a current gap in the system.
It seems the Institute of Teaching will be a pioneer, exploring how new and aspirational policy can be best developed and introduced, e.g. flexible working or part-time ITT programmes. It would then work with teaching school hubs to apply this best practice at a more local level. The DfE stated they were still receptive to feedback from the system about how to structure the Institute of Teaching and that the procurement process will help shape it.
This is still early days and the vision and policy for both the Institute and teaching school hubs is still evolving. We'll need to 'watch this space' as we move closer to all the hubs beginning their delivery role from September 2021 and the Institute commencing delivery from September 2022, and as it grows to full capacity into 2024-25.
A full copy of the presentation delivered by the DfE is available to download, below.