The allocation of undergraduate initial teacher training (ITT) places

The allocation of undergraduate initial teacher training (ITT) places for the academic year 2016 to 2017.

This guidance is intended for accredited providers that intend to deliver undergraduate ITT places in the 2016 to 2017 academic year. It sets out the:

  • eligibility criteria and requirements for universities
  • process by which we will allocate undergraduate places
  • criteria we will use to allocate places

For postgraduate courses, please read Registering initial teacher training places 2016 to 2017.

The criteria we will employ to allocate places between different courses is set out below. This includes a description of the different criteria we will consider. It does not describe the extent to which we will apply each criterion as we can only decide this once we have received all requests.

The process and criteria described in this document will apply to the allocation of places for the 2016 to 2017 academic year. The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), or any successor organisation, may modify or amend the approach it takes to allocate places in future years.

The process described will not apply to the allocation of places for early years initial teacher training or Teach First. The distribution of these places is decided separately.


NCTL is responsible for managing bursary and grant funding associated with initial teacher training (ITT) for postgraduate and undergraduate courses. It also monitors the public cost of student loans accessed by trainees on these.

The approach we are taking to managing the allocation of places for undergraduate courses is different to that being operated for postgraduate provision this year.

We expect to allocate a broadly similar number of places across all undergraduate courses as we did in 2015 to 2016 academic year. Funding constraints mean that we cannot allow unrestricted recruitment to undergraduate courses and we allocate fixed numbers of places to institutions at the start of each recruitment year in order to manage the process.

Our approach to allocating places to these courses will not change for the 2016 to 2017 academic year. We will review requests against our identified criteria and allocate specific numbers accordingly.

Physics and mathematics places

We are keen to ensure that we recruit as many high-quality physics and mathematics trainees subjects as possible and will continue to allocate all eligible requests in these subjects. We will not allocate any physics or mathematics places to ITT providers graded “requires improvement” or “inadequate”.

Opt-in undergraduate courses

As part of our commitment to train and recruit more teachers for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects over the next 5 years, we are seed-funding the development of undergraduate opt-in courses leading to qualified teacher status (QTS), which enable students to incorporate the award of QTS part way through their degree course, beginning in the 2016 to 2017 academic year. Providers in receipt of this funding are expected to bid for places through the allocations process, in line with the conditions of their grant funding agreement.

We are aware of interest from other providers to develop similar undergraduate degree courses. If you are intending to deliver the course from 2016 to 2017, you should also bid for places through this process. If you do so, we would encourage you to email the ITT recruitment team,, for details on the development of opt-in courses nationally.

Primary mathematics

We want to encourage other ITT providers to identify or develop courses that train generalist primary teachers with a substantial mathematics element included alongside other areas of the curriculum. Teachers trained on these courses will not have the same exclusive focus on mathematics as someone trained on a Primary mathematics specialist course but will have a robust grounding in the subject nonetheless. In particular, they will be capable of leading on mathematics in their school. ITT providers are therefore able to request places for “primary – general (with mathematics)”.


We are unable to confirm which subjects will attract funding for the 2016 to 2017 academic year until October 2015.

A £9,000 bursary for final year undergraduates is available for trainees on courses in physics or mathematics that start in the 2015 to 2016 academic year and lead to qualified teacher status. The bursary is available to trainees who enrol on an undergraduate ITT course beginning that year, and is payable in the final year of their course.

Teacher supply model

Each year, the Department estimates the number of trainees required using the teacher supply model. Following revision last year, the teacher supply model only identifies an estimate of the number of trainees needed for postgraduate courses. It does not produce an estimate of the number of trainees needed on undergraduate courses.

The teacher supply model is updated to produce a new estimate for the number of trainees required each year. It treats undergraduate trainees as an input, rather than an output, because recruitment to these courses will not affect the stock of trained teachers for a number of years.

Process for allocating places

As has been the case in previous years, ITT providers will be asked to request places for undergraduate courses. These requests must be submitted by 6pm on Friday 10 July. Late requests will not be considered.

Once all have been submitted, we will consider requests against the eligibility and allocation criteria.


Date Activity
Tuesday 23 June Start of the request period for undergraduate courses
Friday 10 July, 6pm Request deadline

Eligibility and requirements for universities


We will only allocate undergraduate places to a university accredited as an initial teacher training provider by NCTL.

Ofsted grade

We will only allocate provider-led places to ITT providers graded “good” or “outstanding” for overall effectiveness by Ofsted. We will use the latest available inspection grades as published by Ofsted to determine eligibility against this criteria.

Requirements for universities

As part of the request process, ITT providers are required to:

  • submit all requests for places before the deadline (Friday 10 July)
  • inform NCTL if they do not receive confirmation of their request (see below)
  • identify their request by
    • subject (see Annex A)
    • academic level (as “undergraduate”)
    • route (as “provider-led”)

ITT providers are responsible for entering requests accurately. Any errors in submission are the sole responsibility of the ITT provider. We will only consider requests to amend or correct data in exceptional circumstances.


We will not consider requests submitted before the start of the request period on Tuesday 23 June. ITT providers then have until 6pm on Friday 10 July to submit requests for places.

How to request places

We will allocate places in response to requests submitted by ITT providers through our ITT data management system. We are unable to consider any information submitted by either ITT providers outside this system.

Courses should be registered in the same way as for postgraduate programmes. The difference is that in entering “planned recruitment” the ITT provider is submitted a request for places. This will be interpreted differently to information submitted for postgraduate courses.

Access for ITT providers

ITT providers should use either the HEI data management system homepage to access the system.

Password and support

If you have forgotten your password, you will be able to request a new one from the relevant data management system homepage.

If you have any problems accessing the data management system, please contact

Allocation methodology

We intend to allocate roughly the same number of undergraduate places as we did for the 2015 to 2016 academic year. We will allow growth in hard-to-fill subjects and strongly encourage providers to consider how they can develop their provision to produce attractive, high-quality programmes in these areas. Overall numbers will be based on the teacher supply model and so if the teacher supply model forecasts a continuing fall in demand for primary teachers, we may reduce the level of primary places to reflect this.

However, it is likely that the volume of requests for places will exceed the number available for distribution. If this is the case, we will apply specific criteria to determine the requests we can grant, those we can only grant in part and those we have to reject.

Limits on the number of places available will generally apply to both. The exceptions are eligible requests for mathematics and physics places, which we will allocate on request. Summaries of the 2 sets of criteria are provided below.

Allocation criteria

We will consider the following criteria if we choose to differentiate the allocation of places between universities, using allocations from the 2015 to 2016 academic year as our baseline for calculation.


As identified above, we will prioritise requests for places in certain subjects above others in the allocation of places. In addition, while we want to support new courses in STEM subjects, we will place a limit on the number of places available for any course that did not run in the 2015 to 2016 academic year.


As described above, we will use Ofsted inspection grades for overall effectiveness to determine the eligibility of a university to deliver ITT courses. In addition, we will consider using the latest available inspection grades published by Ofsted to differentiate the number of places allocated to ITT providers.

We recognise that some ITT providers have been inspected under the current Ofsted framework and others have not. We appreciate that this means we may assess ITT providers across two different inspection frameworks for this criterion, but we believe this to be the fairest available assessment of an ITT provider’s quality.


We will consider giving more weight to requests from those ITT providers with a proven track record of recruiting. We will take recruitment performance in the 3 years up to the 2014 to 2015 academic year into account in the application of this criterion.

Other considerations

We reserve the right to review the impact of our allocation of places and make any adjustments considered necessary.

Allocation methodologies for previous years

After allocation

Announcement of allocations

We will write to ITT providers when the allocation of places is agreed and available to view on the ITT data management system. The universities will then be required to confirm courses on the UCAS teacher training system. Deadlines for doing this will be communicated in due course.

Publication of allocations data

Data about the initial allocation of ITT places will be published. This publication will identify the number of places allocated by subject and ITT provider.

Change of Ofsted grade

ITT providers

If Ofsted inspects an ITT provider during the course of the year and awards them a higher grade, we will allow a review which may result in the allocation of additional places. Our consideration of a request for extra places will be informed by this methodology, but will also depend on other factors, including the latest allocation and recruitment position. There is no certainty of extra places being made available.

If an ITT provider receives a lower grade judgement at an inspection during the course of the year, we will not automatically review or alter their allocation. We will not reduce an allocation of places unless there is compelling evidence that demands the immediate cessation of training.

Changes to allocations

After initial allocation, lead schools and ITT providers will be able to request changes to their allocation. This must be done using the ITT data management system. Instructions for how to request changes can be found in the system user guide. All change requests are subject to NCTL approval.

ITT providers must submit all change requests to NCTL before 1 August 2016.

Unused places

If, at any time, an ITT provider becomes aware that they will not recruit to places they have been allocated, they should relinquish these places in the ITT data management system as soon as possible.

NCTL reserves the right to apply penalties against any ITT provider that significantly under- or over-recruits against allocation. In particular, ITT providers may be liable for the cost of training anyone recruited in excess of allocation.

List of designated ITT subjects for undergraduate courses


  • Primary (this combines what was previously Primary – General and Primary – FS/KS1)
  • Primary – foundation degree progression
  • Primary mathematics specialist
  • Primary – general (with mathematics)


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Published 23 June 2015