View all news

Ofsted praises ‘outstanding’ teacher training at the University of Bristol

From left to right: Dr Alf Coles, Antonia Lythgoe, Prof Paul Howard-Jones, the Rt Hon Damian Hinds (Secretary of State for Education), Ruth Bailey, Jayne Prior and Prof Bruce Macfarlane Jonathan Bewley | PhotoJB

Press release issued: 8 January 2019

Teacher training provision at the University of Bristol has been ranked as outstanding in every category by Ofsted, which praised the standard of newly qualified teachers who are ‘exceptionally well-prepared’ for their first job.

The inspection, carried out in two stages last year, assessed the University's School of Education's PGCE programmes through visiting partner schools, discussions with headteachers and senior leaders within schools, as well as observing and speaking to a range of trainees and newly qualified teachers.

Ofsted inspectors found the Bristol initial teacher education (ITE) courses, which train around 200 secondary school teachers every year, to be outstanding in all four categories: overall effectiveness, outcomes for trainees, quality of training, and quality of leadership and management.

PGCE Director Ruth Bailey said: "We are absolutely delighted with the outstanding grade from Ofsted. It is evidence of the commitment of the PGCE tutor and administrations teams, and the hard work and support of our school partners and student teachers. We would like to thank everyone for their contribution to this excellent report."

The Ofsted report praises trainee teachers at Bristol for being highly reflective, open to new ideas and contributing to high-quality debate about learning and practice.

The inspectors also highlighted the contribution made to the local school community by the PGCE training, with the majority of trainees securing employment in Bristol and within the region.

Headteachers stressed the 'strong professional characteristics, subject knowledge and understanding of pedagogy that Bristol trainees show' so that when employing newly qualified teachers, they see the University of Bristol as their ‘first port of call’.  Bristol trainees therefore 'swiftly secure employment'.

The report notes that 'trainees are highly complimentary about the quality of subject training that they received' as well as valuing the pastoral care that is available to them.

Professor Bruce Macfarlane, Head of the School of Education, said: "The retention of outstanding status for our initial teacher training is a testimony to the excellence and commitment of our staff and the strong and stable partnerships which they have built over many years with schools across Bristol and the wider region.

"Students who are trained to teach at Bristol School of Education gain a research-led training that leads to them to obtain secure employment swiftly and successful long-term careers in the teaching profession."

The School of Education's Initial Teacher Education Partnership involves over 55 schools and focuses on eight secondary subjects (English, geography, history, modern foreign languages, music, RE and science). Trainees can either follow the core PGCE route with training based at the University or the School Direct route, which is managed by local school consortia; both routes lead to PGCE and include at least two school placements.

Last April, Education Secretary Damian Hinds visited the School of Education to better understand how to attract people to the profession and retain them following recent statistics which showed teacher recruitment has dropped by a third nationally. Bristol is bucking this trend with an increase in application numbers for its initial teacher education (ITE) courses.

Edit this page