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Myths and Misconceptions about School Centred Teacher Training Courses

As a teacher training team we love meeting people who are thinking of becoming teachers at information events, School Experience Days and recruitment fairs. Sometimes when we are talking things through with them it emerges that there are a number of myths and misconceptions that exist about school centred teacher training programmes like ours.

As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, there may be various myths or misconceptions surrounding school-based initial teacher training (ITT) in England. Keep in mind that educational policies and practices may have evolved since then. Here are some potential myths associated with school-based ITT:


Myth 1: School-centred ITT means being ‘dropped in at the deep end’

It is absolutely the case that we want our Associate Teachers (the name we use for people training with us) to be in schools and to be thinking and learning from what is going on around them, however this is always set up in a supportive and carefully managed way. Our curriculum is built around three carefully sequenced developmental phases ensuring that you will be effectively supported and challenged in your growth and development as you progress towards gaining qualified teacher status (QTS). 


Myth 2:  School-centred ITT lacks an academic or theoretical foundation.

Reality: This couldn’t be further from the truth! Our highly praised curriculum is reviewed every year to ensure that it contains a perfect balance of research informed thinking and practical approaches that can be used immediately in the school context. Our approach has always been about drawing these two areas as closely together as possible and the fact that we are based in schools means that we are always thinking about which theories and research findings will be most relevant at each stage of training. In addition everyone who trains with us has the option of undertaking a masters level PGCE qualification.


Myth 3: School-centred courses only train you to teach in one school

Reality: Our courses are carefully constructed to ensure that you get two contrasting placements of roughly equal length. Both will be highly supportive and arranged so as to be geographically accessible but by having a significant amount of time in two schools you will gain a real sense of confidence that the skills and knowledge you have developed are transferable to different contexts. We are proud of the fact that we have among the highest completion and employment rates of any provider in the country, and far higher than the national averages. This is further testament to the comprehensive approach that we take. As our most recent Ofsted Inspection identified:

“There is a rightful pride in the deeply reflective ethos that is instilled in trainees. Trainees are encouraged to engage with philosophical debates in education, fostering their individual values. The programme’s clear focus is not limited to trainees achieving QTS, but that they should be well positioned for long and illustrious careers.”


Myth 4: School-centred ITT is only for recent graduates or people who are already working in schools

Reality: School-centred ITT courses are open to and suitable for everyone. Each cohort of Associate Teachers contains a vibrant mix of people from many different backgrounds and experiences. We welcome everyone and the flexibility that is built into our courses means that you will be inspired, supported and well prepared whatever you have done before. 


Myth 5: School-centred ITT courses don’t train people to become subject specialists

Reality: Again, this couldn’t be further from the truth. At least half a day every week is spent in subject knowledge development, and unlike some providers where there is an expectation that this will be done through self-study these are all live sessions led by our incredible team of subject specialists. These sessions are incredibly responsive to ensure that by the end of the programme everyone feels confident and competent in the subject/s that they will be teaching. The Ofsted Inspectors noted:

“Subject-specific dimensions are central to the training in both phases. Trainees gain a considerable grasp of theory and how to use this to best effect. In primary, this extends beyond an excellent grounding in early reading to the rightful importance attached to the full range of national curriculum subjects.”


Patrick Garton

OTT SCITT Director, OTSH Co-Director