The University and College Union (UCU) announced a national marking and assessment boycott earlier this year, as part of strike action. This means that some university students might not receive their degree on time in 2023.
The marking boycott has the potential to disrupt Initial Teacher Training as candidates usually need to prove that they have received their degree to start postgraduate courses.
We know how valuable these new teachers are to our children and young people, and how important it is for these candidates to take the next steps in their training.
That’s why we have made temporary changes to how Initial Teacher Training (ITT) candidates are assessed so all good candidates will be able to start their courses in September.
What is Initial Teacher Training?
In almost all scenarios, trainees must complete an ITT course that leads to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) before starting to work as a teacher in state schools.
There are several routes into ITT. Universities and schools run the courses and award qualifications.
To be accepted onto an ITT course, candidates must have completed a degree.
What are you doing to make sure students can start Initial Teacher Training in September?
This year, to make sure that candidates can start their ITT in September, universities and school-led ITT providers that offer ITT will be able to recruit trainees whose degree status has not yet been confirmed because they have been impacted by the boycott.
Later on, before candidates are able to formally complete their ITT and are awarded QTS, the provider will need to make sure that the degree has been awarded.
This means that candidates will only be able to complete ITT once their graduate status has been confirmed. Universities must make this clear to candidates starting the ITT.
What are you doing to prevent UCU strike action?
The Government has no direct role in UCU industrial action as it’s the responsibility of individual colleges and universities to set pay for their staff.
However, we want this disagreement resolved in a way that avoids disrupting students’ learning, especially given the difficulties students have faced during the pandemic.
We strongly encourage a resolution that delivers good value for students, staff, and universities.