Bath Spa University is celebrating after receiving high recognition for its Teacher Education programmes from the quality regulator Ofsted.
The Bath Spa Institute for Education has been awarded a grade 1 judgement, representing an “outstanding” provision for its primary and secondary teacher education programmes, and the highest grade that can be given.
This is the second successive Ofsted inspection resulting in a grade 1 score for the Institute for Education’s Primary and Secondary programmes which builds on a long established history of teacher training, excellent education research, and teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
The report followed a two stage inspection during which all aspects of the University’s teacher education programmes were examined, along with follow-up visits of newly qualified Bath Spa teachers in their first year of teaching in schools.
Professor Christina Slade, Vice-Chancellor at Bath Spa University, said: “Bath Spa trained teachers acquire a diverse range of skills and experience during their time with us. They are creative, digitally literate, globally networked and take these attributes into the classroom with them.
“It is evident from this extremely positive report that these attributes are in demand by employers who recognise the high calibre of our graduates.
“This is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of our University staff who promote excellence and expertise in education research and professional practice.”
Dean of Bath Spa Institute for Education, Dr Kate Reynolds commented: “I’m delighted that the quality of our primary and secondary teacher education programmes has been so highly rated.
“One of the benefits of our university-led programme is that our students gain a theoretical grounding that is seamlessly balanced by the practical skills gained in different school placements.
“I want to thank all the schools, staff, students and settings that work with us to produce outstanding teachers that we know make a real difference to children and young people.
“This means that they are superbly equipped to handle the classroom situation – as our newly qualified teachers demonstrated very effectively to the Ofsted inspectors”.
The inspection also looked at the University’s early years initial teacher training programme run in partnership with Best Practice Network, introduced less than two years ago, and in this case the report found that the overall effectiveness of the programme “requires improvement.”
Commenting on the “requires improvement” decision, Dr Reynolds said: “We are committed to providing the best possible preparation for teaching to over 500 students each year, and we are dedicated to raising the standards of our early years Teacher Education programmes in partnership with Best Practice Network over the next six months.
“Ofsted stated that “the partnership never stands still and has an impressive record of sustained improvement over time.”
“The ambitious leadership of the Early Years ITT partnership have accurately identified areas for development and will be drawing on the expertise in the primary and secondary phases to ensure that the training and outcomes will be of the same high quality as on our other programmes.”
The report highlighted several key areas of strength relating to the primary and secondary programme inspection including:
- Established close school partnerships: The report commended the excellent way in which “Bath Spa University has established very close partnerships with local schools and contributed to the design of new routes into teaching” and in particular highlighted “the seamless relationship between the university and its diverse range of partnership schools.”
- Exceptional trainee teachers: In particular the report championed Bath Spa’s trainee teachers who are “exceptionally reflective practitioners, continually seeking ways to improve their teaching. The report said they have “extremely high expectations of themselves and of the pupils that they teach.”
- Local influence. The report emphasised that employment rates are high for those training at Bath Spa University, and made it clear that “these newly qualified teachers are very much the first choice for employers in the local and wider area.”
- High praise for leaders and managers. The report continually praised Bath Spa Institute for Education’s leaders and managers calling them “exceptionally ambitious for [the University’s] continuing success and expansion. This means that they are always striving to provide the highest quality teacher training.”
Bath Spa University works closely with a partnership of some 335 primary and secondary schools in the region to deliver the training programme.
Dr Reynolds added: “The newly qualified Bath Spa teachers who so impressed the Ofsted inspectors are now part of a large professional community of research, practice and professional development through membership of the Bath Spa Institute for Education.
“The newly formed Institute is already playing a significant role in the teaching profession. It is the embodiment of our extensive experience and expertise, and provides a creative space to encourage innovative educational practice through promoting debate, professionalism, expertise and partnerships.”