New NASBTT survey highlights concerns over implementation of ITTECF and undergraduate teaching apprenticeship

Three quarters of ITT providers are supportive of the new Initial Teacher Training and Early Career Framework (ITTECF) in principle – but are less optimistic that its introduction will deliver on all its stated objectives, according to new survey findings published by the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT).

When asked whether the single ITTECF would help improve content to reduce workload for mentors, only 21% answered ‘yes’: 47% said ‘no’ and 32% were ‘unsure’. Similarly, on the framework helping to improve content to deliver more subject-specific training, 44% were ‘unsure’ and 31% responded ‘no’ (just 25% said ‘yes’). Only 40% felt the ITTECF would help cut unnecessary repetition from previous frameworks, with a further 32.5% reporting it would not and 27.5% feeling ‘unsure’ about this intended outcome.

However, the majority of the 77 ITT providers responding to the NASBTT survey in March and April were generally more optimistic that the ITTECF would help improve content to help teachers support pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (62.5%), help improve content to address needs around oracy, early cognitive development and social and emotional learning (56%), and create a more coherent journey for those joining the profession (56%).

When asked if there is anything missing from the ITTECF, common themes from responding providers included clearer/deeper guidance on age phases, subject specificity, SEND, disadvantaged, and progression in content from ITT to ECF; more/greater emphasis and recognition of support needed for early years, diversity, equity and inclusion, English as an additional language (EAL), mental health and wellbeing, and workload; and guidance on ‘how’ to deliver, not just ‘what’. 

Reflecting on the challenges in delivering the ITTECF from September 2025, repeated themes were alignment between different ITT/ECF programmes; workload related to mapping and reshaping curriculum content/material; time pressure, also in the context of timescales for the September 2024 quality requirements; unresolved issues around mentoring capacity; and potential for repetition in the ITT to ECF journey. 

Separately, the survey invited views on the new apprenticeship route into teaching for non-graduates, which will also launch in September 2025. In principle, 61% providers said they are supportive of the undergraduate teaching apprenticeship, but were less confident that this route would positively impact on teacher recruitment: 27.5% responding ‘yes’, 28.5% replying ‘no’, and 34% feeling ‘unsure’. Only 6.5% thought the pathway would positively impact on retention. 

Again, providers raised concern about the detail of proposals for the undergraduate teaching apprenticeship: costs to schools (salary expectations) and length of time in school without qualifying; appropriateness for a secondary setting (closeness of age between apprentices and students, and lack of subject-specific knowledge); quality of candidates/quality assurance; additional strain on mentoring/school capacity, and the impact on SCITT recruitment/competition for existing routes into teaching. 

A third of providers (32.5%) are planning to explore an undergraduate teaching apprenticeship – in partnership with organisations with degree awarding powers if required – for delivery from September 2025. Another (30%) said they were not and 37.5% were ‘unsure’. When asked what else the government should be considering, at this time, to support recruitment to the undergraduate teaching apprenticeship, suggestions included clarity on how funding will work for schools and providers; additional capacity building in schools, especially mentoring; how to develop subject knowledge of apprentices; support and incentivisation for school involvement (applications, financial planning, marketing etc); and improving the profile and status of teaching as a profession (including pay, workload and flexible working).

“As always, ITT providers have provided some incredibly helpful feedback on the government’s latest teacher development and teacher recruitment initiatives, and outlined some common issues which need to be addressed for these to make a genuine difference to the sector,” said NASBTT Chief Executive Emma Hollis. “We will discussing these with relevant government teams, as part of our solutions-focused approach. Specifically on SEND, the good news is that 77% of responding providers are now involving special schools – including AP, pupil referral units and mainstream schools with SEN resource units – in their ITT partnerships as per the ITT: special schools and alternative provision guide, and through this survey we have gathered greater insight about how exactly this is working in practice.”

Formal ITT placements (67%), as well as shorter experiences (90%), employing a SEND specialist to review programme (51%) and including SEND in every insight session (49%) are the most prevalent ways for involving special schools in strategic partnerships. Other approaches taken include dedicated Intensive Training and Practice sessions (ITAPs) and enrichment days; SEND steering/working groups, involving local SEND schools, to support the development and delivery of curriculum materials; and involvement of MAT SEND leads, trust senior leaders and SENCOs in training.

When asked to rate on a scale of 0-10 how confident providers are in ensuring trainees gain a strong understanding of how to meet the needs of all pupils, including those with SEND and EAL children, the average response was 7.7 out of 10.

Previous post Major incident exercise held to prepare paramedic students for the future
Next post New Teaching Resources for Mental Health Awareness Week from Discovery Education