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Ofsted praises 'broad, ambitious and research-informed' PGCE curriculum


Brunel University London’s provision of initial teacher education – how the University’s Department of Education prepares its students to become primary and secondary teachers – has been judged as Good in Ofsted’s latest inspection report, which praised the PGCE course as having a broad, ambitious and research-informed curriculum.

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. Familiar to many of us because of unannounced visits by its inspectors to schools throughout England, they likewise arrive for on-the-spot inspections of providers of initial teacher education (ITE) – sometimes referred to as ‘teacher training’. Their expert, independent assessment reveals how well the provider is performing and the quality of ITE and training offered.

The report, published in late July, was written up after the inspectors’ visit from 12 to 15 June – their first for 8 years – during which they met with student teachers, early-career teachers, mentors, tutors and the Department’s managers. They also reviewed the curriculum and other documentation.

All the student teachers are PGCE students, studying for the one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education with recommendation for qualified teacher status.

The report praised how the course enables student teachers to see themselves as lifelong learners who seek to improve and hone their practice.

The inspectors wrote that the ITE curriculum is broad, ambitious and informed by pertinent research in both the primary and secondary phases, and that it focuses on developing the professional conduct and behaviours expected of a teacher.

The report added that student teachers value the emphasis placed on promoting inclusion and ambition for all pupils; are well prepared for the realities of a career in teaching; and enjoy particularly positive relationships with their university tutors, who check in on them regularly.

The inspectors rated the quality of education and training as Good and gave the leadership and management the same grade.

This news is particularly welcome because Brunel was among 12 higher education institutions that were unsuccessful in their applications to the government’s Department for Education to be reaccredited to provide ITE courses from 2024–25 onwards.

Of these institutions (that have been inspected), Brunel and six others received positive judgements after Ofsted’s thorough inspection.

Dr Anne Chappell, Head of Brunel’s Department of Education, said: “We are rightly proud of our well-established and successful PGCE programmes, and of our long-standing history as one of Brunel’s predecessor colleges, Borough Road, where our teacher education started in 1798.

“This Ofsted judgement is a significant external validation of the strength of initial teacher education provision at Brunel, and of the impact it has on the successful teaching careers our students go on to have.”

Reported by:

Joe Buchanunn, Media Relations
+44 (0)1895 268821