A VERY DIFFERENT LANDSCAPE Emma Hollis asks what does 2020-21 hold for teacher training? I n a time of local lockdowns and ever- changing local circumstances, we do not and could not have a definitive answer as to what teacher training will look like in 2020-21 – but what we can say is that while Initial Teacher Training (ITT) will vary across the country, providers are working really hard to ensure that trainees have a fantastic experience, whatever that involves. Providers are aiming to get trainees into school wherever possible but all have contingency plans in place in the event of further lockdowns, including for wholly distanced learning should that be necessary, as well as offering online professional development from the word go. Even if trainees cannot get into school straight away, or their school placements are interrupted, there will be a high-quality training programme available to them with directed activities and time for reading, research and online learning. We know there is going to be variety in terms of whether training days are face-to- face or distance learning – and this will again depend on local context such as the number of trainees in a cohort and the relative size of training rooms. Some have access to large rooms where socially distancing is entirely possible so these providers are able to bring trainees in, others are planning remote training sessions for the first half-term, but there are two possible practical changes around the ITT year to be aware of. The first change is that many programmes are being developed to give trainees more explicit experience of how to manage online learning for pupils. This can only be a positive thing. It has been on the periphery of training for a long time now – ‘flipped learning’ has been a phrase which has been talked about for a while – and now it is central to programmes of ITT rather than seen as an afterthought. Not only are we teaching professionals online, we are also educating them to teach their pupils in this way, and these are skills that will be entirely beneficial in our ‘new’ or future world. The second possible change relates to schools, and some providers may change the way they are offering their placements. It might be that trainees are attached to one school for the duration of their programme with the potential option of an alternative placement at the very end of the academic year (should circumstances allow) rather than the more typical alternative placements earlier in the year. Trainees might also find they are attached to a particular year group or bubble so they fit with the staffing structure of the school they are placed in. Part of NASBTT’s focus is in supporting ITT providers to develop flexible programmes which suit their particular context; for example, through paired/ rolling/shared placements or by front-loading distance learning programmes and delaying placements until later in the year. I have seen trainees given the opportunity to ‘team teach’ on placements, going into the same class together or teaching separate classes using a lesson plan and resources they have created together. This is not the only solution but is one which allows trainees to share ideas, workload and resources whilst building a strong cohort community. It is important to remember that while all programmes will not look and feel the same, there will be equity of provision giving trainees all the knowledge, skills and resources they need to meet the Teachers’ Standards and be ready and raring to teach in their NQT year. Arguably this cohort could be better prepared than any other year, given they will be teaching and learning in a variety of different ways. They will likely experience both receiving and facilitating online learning, as well as more traditional face-to-face teaching, so they should be prepared for anything. 62 PRIMARY SCHOOL MANAGEMENT