Providing the best possible initial teacher training (ITT) is the focus of the Department’s drive to improve teaching standards. In order to be awarded qualified teacher status (QTS), trainees must demonstrate that they have met the Teachers’ Standards, which includes a requirement that they demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge. Ofsted is responsible for testing the quality of teacher training and at their most recent inspection, 99% of all teacher training providers were rated good or outstanding.
The amount of time that primary trainees spend in training on each of the subjects in the national curriculum is not specified by the Government. It is for ITT providers to use their professional judgement to determine the content and structure of courses, but they must be designed so that trainees can demonstrate that they meet all the required standards at the appropriate level by the end of their training. This includes religious education.
In July 2016, the Department published a ‘framework of core content for initial teacher training’, further guidance which states that ‘trainees must be conversant with a range of effective subject-specific pedagogical approaches’. The framework also outlines providers’ responsibility to audit trainees’ subject knowledge early in their training and make provision to ensure that trainees have sufficient subject knowledge to satisfy the standard by the end of their training.