Initial teacher training: opportunity to pilot innovative approaches in the provision of ITT

Existing accredited initial teacher training (ITT) providers have an opportunity to pilot innovative approaches in the provision of ITT.


In her speech at the ASCL conference on 10 March 2017 the Secretary of State announced that she would be inviting expressions of interest from initial teacher training (ITT) providers with proposals to develop and provide innovative teacher training models.

The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) would like to invite proposals from interested partnerships of providers, in support of our ambition that more great teachers reach the schools and areas that need them the most.

Expression of interest process

This is a 2-step process:

Step 1

Complete and submit your expression of interest form (MS Word Document, 80.7KB). The closing date is Monday 17 July 2017 at 9am. Expressions of interest should be submitted to

Your expression of interest form outlines the thinking and intention behind your proposal. Criteria for this first step are detailed in the form.

Preferred bidders will then be invited to take part in step 2.

Step 2

Preferred bidders should submit a detailed bid, building on the outline provided in your expression of interest document. Detailed criteria for this step will be published in July 2017. The bid will need to include details of: milestones; partners involved; geographical coverage; roles and responsibilities; management arrangements; anticipated benefits; success measures; and a risk register.


Process Indicative date
Deadline for submitting your expression of interest Monday 17 July 2017 at 9am
NCTL assessment panel considers your expression of interest – additional information may be necessary before moving on to the next stage of the process Monday 17 July 2017 – Monday 31 July 2017
Partnerships informed of outcome of assessment panel decision Monday 31 July 2017
Successful partnerships prepare and submit a detailed bid August 2017 – date to be confirmed
NCTL assessment panel considers the detailed bid – a resubmission of the bid with additional information may be requested August/September 2017
NCTL confirm approval to the provider once all requested information and satisfactory assurances have been provided September 2017


We are keen to support accredited ITT providers, who will employ collaborative and innovative approaches in reshaping their ITT provision to:

  • increase trainee supply in areas of poor teacher recruitment and retention
  • improve the supply of newly qualified teachers to schools in greatest need
  • tap into new applicant markets and improve teacher supply in subjects or age phases where there is a clear need
  • remove obstacles to social mobility, supporting disadvantaged young people
  • improve collaboration among providers
  • promote cohesion of the market, improving provider viability and sustainability

We will support a small number of innovative approaches through pilot schemes which aim to begin implementation work in 2017 to take effect from the 2018 trainee cohort and beyond.

Innovative solutions

We want to support activity by accredited ITT providers who will pilot and test new ideas to achieve these objectives. We are particularly interested in bids involving collaborative partnership working and which have the potential to have impact at scale. Your bid should focus on improving trainee recruitment and teacher supply in the schools, areas and subjects which need this the most.

We know that a number of providers are already taking fresh approaches to achieving these objectives, such as:

  • developing collaborative arrangements across their local region
  • extending their partnership reach to help schools with the greatest supply needs
  • taking focused action to improve take-up of hard-to-recruit-to subjects

We are keen to hear from partnerships of providers with ideas such as these. However, we do not want to be prescriptive and would like to hear further suggestions, provided they will achieve the objectives we have set out.


To be eligible:

  • there must be a lead organisation, which must be an an accredited ITT provider
  • all accredited ITT providers within your partnership must be rated not less than ‘good’ according to Ofsted
  • you must commit to undertake implementation work in 2017 and 2018 in time for your first cohort of trainees in 2018
  • your proposed model must comply with all the current ITT criteria
  • your proposed model must be based on existing routes into teaching

Successful bids

We will support a small number of pilot schemes proposing to offer innovative approaches. These projects will start implementation work in 2017 to take effect from the 2018 trainee cohort and beyond. Continuation of support will be subject to successful implementation of the agreed proposals.

If you are successful, you will receive 3-year allocations. This will give you the security of a 3-year allocation of provider-led places to all accredited providers within your partnership to:

  • support financial stability over the pilot period
  • provide the opportunity to implement a long-term plan

We are aware you will have already submitted allocations bids for 2018. We will confirm the process regarding 3-year allocations with providers who are successful in step 1 at the second step. We will ensure this aligns with allocations processes. If your bid is unsuccessful, this will not impact detrimentally on your current allocations request.

Support for those who are successful may also include:

  • partnership allocations – the allocation of places to the wider partnership and allowance for in-year flexibility of places across the partnership
  • ITT expert support – support supplied by our ITT associate team, who are experienced ITT professionals, to help develop planning and support implementation

Post-award evaluation

We will expect to work with successful partnerships to monitor progress and capture learning. This is likely to involve:

  • NCTL expert associate support visits
  • provision of quantitative data from you, for example numbers of applications, offers and acceptances, and ITT and school recruitment outcomes
  • provision of summary progress reports from you, including qualitative and quantitative findings
  • participation in occasional face-to-face workshops and/or online events

Our aim is to use ongoing findings from each innovation model to provide insight and promote change across the wider sector.


Initial teacher training: innovative approaches in the provision of ITT

Published 4 July 2017