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Coronavirus: Message to all Kingsbridge trainees and partner schools

16 March 2020 (by admin)

Please be advised that we are working very closely with the DfE and NASBTT in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to provide up-to-date advice and guidance for our partner schools and trainees.

Dear Colleagues,

Coronavirus: Advice to Colleagues

May I start by thanking you for your support and understanding in these uncertain and very worrying times. Kingsbridge Teacher Training would like to assure all our partners that we are closely monitoring, and following, the latest information and advice issued by Public Health England with regards to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

We are aware that events currently unfolding around the Coronavirus are causing considerable uncertainty within the school and amongst trainees. Please be advised that we are working very closely with the DfE and NASBTT in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to provide up-to-date advice and guidance for our partner schools and trainees. You will appreciate that this is an ongoing conversation with government and advice is being updated daily. These are not decisions that regulators can make independently. We will therefore issue updates to schools, as and when the information becomes available.

What if there are Potential Prolonged School Closures?

We are currently working very closely with the DfE and NASBTT to develop further guidance for schools and trainees in the light of any potential prolonged school closure(s) and what this may mean for the award of QTS and programme requirements such as school placements and Progress Reviews. These conversations are very fluid and the team at DfE must be led by the wider advice issued by the government.  However, as soon as we do have further updates, we will ensure that you are made aware.

Our view to government is that special considerations should be made in this highly unusual instance and that, in such an instance, Kingsbridge will make sensible professional judgements about the award of QTS, even where this may result in typical processes (such as Progress Reviews) being potentially waived or adapted in the event of confirmed school closures by Government. We await the DfE’s response to these recommendations and will update you as soon as we have more news.

Is a trainee still ‘on Programme’ if their school is closed – and how does this affect funding?

A trainee can still be said to be ‘on programme’ even if they are unable to attend their placement school. In such an instance, we will offer trainees alternative work/activities which will further develop their professional development, such as subject knowledge development, academic reading and research, access to online professional development modules, planning and assessment tasks etc. In this instance, we will set trainees up on a Microsoft Teams channel and use this to set activities and actions which can be reviewed by Kingsbridge. Trainees may also have opportunities to support virtual learning platforms for their placement schools (see following point). 

Can virtual teaching be used as evidence?

We would advise that schools must use their professional judgment to make a decision on whether taking part in a school’s plans for virtual teaching provides their trainee with suitable evidence of progress towards the Teaching Standards.  This will depend on what measures individual schools have put in place for their pupils and how this is being managed. It may also depend on how willing you are, as individual schools to include trainee teachers in the planning and delivery of virtual lessons. 

Will MMU provide an extension to their assignment deadline?

As the MMU assignment requires trainees to take part in teaching activities as part of the assignment, Jo Baynham from MMU has emailed trainees to explain that, should schools close, adjustments will be made accordingly. Kingsbridge advise that trainees make a start on their assignment activities as soon as possible as, in the event, of school closures, the time not spent in school could be used to complete the assignment if the teaching activities have taken place.

Do my trainees still need to complete 120 days in school?

The ITT Criteria do not specify a minimum number of days that SCITT trainees must spend training in schools. However, as an organisation, we have agreed that in order to effectively demonstrate that the standards have been met in full, trainees must have had access to a minimum 120 days in schools. This is in line with the expectation for other candidates on a non-school based PGCE. Trainees must still have had the opportunity to teach for example a sequence of phonics, visit the Early Years, Year 6 or Year 11 classes within their Primary or Secondary placement schools and demonstrated their ability to consistently offer a high quality of teaching and learning when teaching a timetable of 70% of the school curriculum as outlined in the current programme design. 

The assumption would be that the programme design would not change as a result of an outbreak of Covid-19 limiting school-based training. However, Kingsbridge would want to ensure that no trainees are put at risk of not achieving the standards as a result of insufficient time being afforded to them in school and/or centre-based training. This might mean that Kingsbridge would need to find alternative school-based provision, and/or extend programmes for some trainees, particularly those who have not yet demonstrated that they meet the standards in full through two school placements. Trainees deemed to be meeting the standards irrespective of the number of days they have spent training in schools can and should be recommended for the award. In such circumstances, we would manage such an event through our partnership arrangements, and quality assurance processes.

We will continue to keep colleagues updated as and when appropriate.

Warmest wishes,

Carly Bozdoğan For and on behalf of Kingsbridge Teacher Training

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