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Initial teacher education programmes at the University have been ranked as outstanding in every category by Ofsted

“Exceptional” University of Exeter trainee teachers significantly enhance education in the South West

“Exceptional” University of Exeter trainee teachers are helping to “significantly enhance” the quality of education in South West schools, inspectors have said.

Initial teacher education programmes at the University have been ranked as outstanding in every category by Ofsted, which has praised the contribution of Exeter’s trainees and newly qualified teachers teaching children in the region and nationally.

More than 300 schools in the South West work with experts at the University’s Graduate School of Education to run “highly effective” postgraduate PGCE programmes to train primary and secondary teachers, according to the Ofsted report released this week. There are ‘high rates of successful completion’ with most trainees ending up working locally.

Inspectors, who completed a rigorous two-stage inspection which also included visiting newly qualified teachers in schools, found trainee teachers on PGCE programmes had “exceptional qualities” and “high academic calibre and exemplary professional attitudes” and said their work was “met with universal praise by schools”.

The University’s PGCE partnership has forged strong relationships with local teachers, who inspectors noticed were “very proud” to be involved with the University of Exeter and were “universal in their praise of the newly qualified teachers they employ”.

The report says: “The programme is highly successful for trainees as a result of its expertly crafted programme of training, combined with the wide range of schools and placements. Trainees obtain a depth of learning that enables them to exceed the minimum teaching standards considerably.”

Ofsted praised University of Exeter-trained teachers for their ‘high levels of professionalism; drive, resilience and an ability to manage themselves independently’. This means they make rapid progress in their careers as new teachers and gain confidence in teaching children with a diverse range of needs. The report commends the ability of former trainees to “reflect critically on the impact of their teaching and to amend their approach to ensure that their pupils make good progress”.

Each year, about 450 primary and secondary trainees, including those on the School Direct route, qualify to teach at the University of Exeter. Secondary trainees specialise in the sciences, English, maths, PE, modern languages, history and RE - as well as computing, geography, design & technology and music on the School Direct route - and more than half of all trainees are undertaking their training in secondary subjects where there is a national shortage of teachers. The University of Exeter allows trainees on the primary programme to specialise in a particular curriculum area.

Inspectors said that teachers trained at Exeter “create stimulating and engaging learning environments where all pupils feel safe, secure and confident to learn”. Exeter trainees “use their exceptionally high levels of subject and pedagogical knowledge to captivate and sustain pupils’ interest”.

Ofsted said the training programmes were “extremely well designed” and intellectually rigorous, and made “excellent use” of the educational specialists and expertise within the University and the partnership schools. The report says “every trainee receives the individual personal and academic support they need to achieve their best and reach their full potential”.

Professor David Hall, Head of the University of Exeter’s Graduate School of Education, said: “We are extremely proud of our partnership with hundreds of schools across the South West and beyond, and the contribution University staff and new and trainee teachers are making to education in the region.

“Our model of teacher training is unique and allows students to specialise in particular subjects and spend a great deal of time in the classroom. This creates confident, inspiring teachers.”

Dinah Warren, Head of Initial Teacher Education at the University of Exeter, said: “This is a wonderful report and we recognise our trainees and newly qualified teachers in every paragraph. We are delighted that inspectors noted the exceptional qualities of our trainees and newly qualified teachers as well as our track record for innovative, high-quality, research-informed teacher education. We are also very pleased to note that inspectors heard from schools that we are “the provider of choice” for initial teacher education.

“We have a shared vision and everyone involved in training works incredibly hard to achieve it. We are confident our model of teacher education ensures our future teachers are extremely well-prepared to have a successful and enjoyable career and make a huge difference to young people’s lives.”

More information about University of Exeter teacher training can be found at or and

Date: 23 November 2017

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