Ofsted June 2016

Celebrating Ofsted results for our early years teacher training programme

Wednesday, 22 June, 2016

A new early years teacher training programme at Bath Spa University has been rated ‘good’ by Ofsted inspectors.

The Bath Spa Institute for Education’s Early Years Initial Teacher Training (EYITT) course, which is in its second year, is a specialist programme designed for those already working or seeking to work with babies and children aged from birth to five years old.

The programme was created by the Government in response to research which demonstrates that the quality of early education and childcare provision is higher when practice is led by specially trained graduate teachers. Bath Spa’s programme offers an opportunity to understand how children develop and learn, and to build on skills and experience to contribute to improving outcomes for young children.

The Ofsted report praised Bath Spa’s Institute for Education. It said the syllabus “blends theory, up-to-date research and practice very well” and the course overall “is producing early years teachers who are highly motivated and passionate about ensuring children get the best possible start.”

It also highlighted the University’s teaching staff saying leaders of the programme “demonstrate strong clarity of purpose and pursue a vision for excellence across Initial Teacher Training provision in the University.”

The report followed an inspection during which all aspects of the University’s early years teacher training programme was examined, including visits to schools and nurseries where trainees were observed and interviews with staff, including leaders, tutors, and mentors.

The report emphasised several key areas of strength relating to the early years programme inspection including:

The trainees are confident, knowledgeable and self-critical and demonstrate high levels of professional conduct, develop strong leadership skills and become good or better early years teachers.

  • Trainees understand the importance of meeting children’s emotional needs. They build positive relationships and engage children in interesting, enjoyable experiences.
  • Trainees have a good understanding of potential barriers to learning, including special educational needs, emotional well-being and language delay, and implement successful strategies to help children overcome them.
  • Centre-based training, assignments and related tasks enhance and deepen trainees’ subject knowledge and their understanding of how young children learn and develop.
  • Bath Spa University’s programme includes practical placements in nurseries and schools to ensure training is current and relevant to the sector.

All thirteen early years trainees who graduated last year have been promoted or have secured a permanent position in a relevant job since finishing the course.

Dr Kate Reynolds, Dean of Bath Spa University’s Institute for Education, said: “Our early years initial teacher training programme is only in its second year, so to be rated ‘good’ by Ofsted is a proud achievement for us and we delighted with the outcome of the inspection. This result is thanks to our University staff, students and our partner settings.

“This rating is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of our University staff who promote excellence and expertise in education research and professional practice. I want to thank the nurseries and schools that work with us to produce great teachers that we know make a real difference to young children in our region and beyond.

“Our talented Bath Spa early years teachers make a positive contribution to children’s learning and progress. Our trainees recognise their professional responsibilities, as well as the impact they will have on the lives of all the young children they teach.

“It is our belief that when practitioners are successful teachers, it is because they understand and are committed to seeing children develop and learn. One of the benefits of our programme is that our students gain a theoretical grounding that is seamlessly balanced by the practical skills gained in different placements.”

Amy Gilder, a former trainee at Bath Spa University, said: “It was such a crazy year but a happy, busy, and rewarding one. Being new to Early Years I felt anxious about the placements but there was no reason for this because I was supported from beginning to end.

I learnt so much about child development but most importantly about my own values, beliefs and the pedagogy that will define me for years to come. I now have my own class of pre-school aged children and I honestly couldn’t be more in love with my job. I feel proud of what I have achieved in one year – it was definitely worth the challenge.”

Last year the Bath Spa Institute for Education was awarded a grade 1 judgement, representing an “outstanding” provision for its primary and secondary teacher education programmes - the highest grade that can be given.

Bath Spa University works closely with a partnership of some 335 primary and secondary schools in the region to deliver the early years, primary and secondary training programmes.

Kate Reynolds comments: “The Institute for Education at Bath Spa has been educating teachers and other educational professionals for over 70 years and is the largest provider in the South West.

“The Institute is 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.”

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