Research and analysis

Initial teacher education curriculum research

Our research team carried out a two-phase study on initial teacher education (ITE) curriculum during the spring and summer terms 2019.


The Curriculum for Initial Teacher Education: Literature Review by Sheffield Hallam University

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The aims of this research are to understand what curriculum quality for trainees looks like in initial teacher education (ITE) partnerships and how we might best evaluate it effectively.

The first phase looks to define important components of ITE curriculum quality to build a testable research model.

You can read the initial findings from phase one in HMCI’s commentary: the ITE curriculum.

For phase 1 of the project, we commissioned ‘The curriculum for initial teacher education: literature review from Sheffield Hallam University’ to support the design of the research model for assessing the curriculum quality of teacher training programmes. We were particularly interested in what the research literature could tell us about the purpose of an ITE curriculum and any evidence of good practice that might help with shaping indicators for curriculum quality in an ITE context.

Phase 2 involved research visits to 46 ITE partnerships, including 24 school-centred initial teacher training providers, 20 higher education institutions and 2 Teach First partnerships. We designed a research model of 22 curriculum indicators across 8 broader themes to test if they were associated with ITE curriculum quality. The findings reveal that effective sequencing of the curriculum across the partnership is vital in preparing trainees for entering the classroom. Other important indicators of quality include having well-trained mentors and prioritising the needs of a trainee over the needs of a partner setting.

The findings from this 2-phase study will provide a research basis for the development of the new ITE inspection framework.

The findings from this two-phase study will provide a research basis for the development of a new inspection framework for ITE.

Published 16 October 2019
Last updated 14 January 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added a PDF version of the report Building great teachers? Initial teacher education curriculum research: phase 2

  2. Updated an incorrect number in Figure 4 in 'Initial teacher education curriculum research: phase 2'.

  3. Published 'Building great teachers? Initial teacher education curriculum research: phase 2'.

  4. First published.