Corona Virus Contingency plans for ITT/NQTs at Alliance for Learning

There has never been a better time to consider a School Direct route for Initial Teacher Training (ITT) through a School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) provider. The Alliance for Learning SCITT established in 2014 is hugely successful and we produce high quality and highly employable trainees within the Early Years (EYTS) Primary and Secondary sectors (PGCE with QTS).  See website for more details

School Centered Initial Teacher Training is exactly that – our trainees are based in settings from the start of the programme, where they are trained and supported by school-based mentors.  Alongside the school-based training,  trainees engage in professional development sessions through the Alliance for Learning SCITT, at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls. We are proud to be working in collaboration with a partnership of over 90 primary, secondary and early years schools and settings,  as well as colleges and universities across Greater Manchester and Lancashire.

In order to adapt to these unusual times, the Alliance for Learning SCITT has adjusted our interview processes, so we can continue to recruit trainees for 2020–21 using a remote interviewing system.

Interview Process:

  • Through the use of an on-line conferencing system, potential candidates will present a self-planned mini teach/lesson considering the introduction of a topic, lesson structure, activities, use of resources and assessment of pupil progress. After this presentation, the interview panel will conduct a formal interview, giving the candidate the opportunity to discuss why they want to be a teacher, and in particular why they want to be a teacher within their chosen field and or age phase.
  • After the interview, the candidate will complete a timed written task shared through and returned via email. This will start to address the candidate’s ability to demonstrate their fundamental English skills (which for the cohort of 2020-21 replaces the requirement for the more traditional DfE Skills Tests).


For more information please contact Eleanor Davidson SCITT Director or Hilary Langmead-Jones SCITT Manager


Official DfE Guidance regarding compliance for QTS as of Wednesday 25th March 2020.

DfE policy statement regarding COVID-19 for all ITT partnerships. Please see the official press release below.

People already in teacher training

“The following position has been agreed by DfE in relation to the potential impact of COVID-19 on Initial Teacher Training courses. It relates to programmes of ITT leading to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) in England which are due to conclude at the end of the 2019/20 academic year.

As we [the government] ask people to stay at home to reduce the burden on the NHS and help it save lives, we would advise providers to, where possible, continue to deliver their ITT courses online by distributing resources. However, we recognise that there will be disruption to ITT courses due to the closure of schools and other institutions. Therefore, DfE will enable ITT providers to make judgements on trainees based on assessments already completed and each trainee’s current trajectory of progress towards meeting the Teachers’ Standards. Trainees making progress towards the Teachers’ Standards should be recommended for QTS, where the ITT provider judges that the trainee would have completed their ITT course successfully.

Further guidance will be provided as soon as possible for those trainees not judged to be making adequate progress and who were unlikely to have met the Teachers’ Standards by the end of their ITT course”


The Alliance for Learning approach in response to the official guidance.

Over the weeks (and maybe months) to come, we [the Alliance for Learning] will continue to monitor trainee progress towards the Teachers’ Standards. We are not planning to ‘sign people off’ early as there is no benefit or gain to our trainees if we take this approach. Also, we simply do not know if schools will reopen hence, we will be working to our current timeline. Over the weeks to come, the Alliance for Learning will continue to hold regular ‘check ins’ with all our trainees. The aim of the ‘check in’ will be to assess how our trainees are contributing and supporting our partnership schools/settings. Alongside setting school work and supporting departments, we have given our trainees the opportunity to complete a series of on-line CPD modules which we have purchased through NASBTT (National Association of School Based Teacher Training). This on-line facility is available to our EY, primary and secondary trainees. Each course leader will focus on particular modules with a view to supporting, developing and addressing areas that are personal targets for our trainees.


NQTS and NQT Induction tutors.

We understand that this is a difficult and confusing time, in very unusual circumstances,  so we want to take this opportunity to reassure all our NQTS and NQT Induction tutors, that the Alliance  for Learning is still open for business and we are here to offer support and advice regarding their induction year. We are also able to take registration of NQTS for 2020-21.

We have had a number of questions regarding NQT induction periods in light of current school closures – please see the advice received from the DfE below.

The final recommendation for QTS.

“Essentially these decisions [to make the final recommendation] have to be made on a case by case basis. If the AB (Appropriate body) feels that the teacher has only partly met the Teacher Standards then they would apply the rules in relation to absences of greater than 29 days (See NQT Induction handbook). This will benefit the NQT because they will have an opportunity to meet the Teachers Standards at a later date.

Alternatively, if the NQT is very capable then there is no harm in applying the below guidance in relation to reducing the induction period.  

These are unprecedented circumstances which specifically apply because of the COVID 19 emergency and have been communicated to ABs in order to not disadvantage the NQTs and should immediately be abandoned after the emergency is over and/or after receipt of further advice from the DfE.

We must always bear in mind that we have to act in the best interests of the NQT”.

Our current understanding regarding NQTs and their final recommendation for QTS is if your NQT is currently on track and they continue to prove so over the school closure period through engagement with work activity, then we can apply our joint professional judgement and award the final QTS recommendation.

With this in mind, we should point out that any trainees not currently on track are likely to require an extension to their NQT induction and this will vary depending on the length of the school closure. This will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.


Mentors and support for schools over this difficult time.

Please see the advice for schools and trainees below, in relation to supporting a trainee to continue to demonstrate their ability against the Teachers’ Standards.

For Primary and Early Years trainees who are due to continue placement in their current settings and those Secondary trainees that are remaining in their placement B setting for the remainder of the year, we strongly advise that you ask your departments, line managers, mentors how you can continue to support the through these challenging times.


This could be by:

  • Asking departments, line managers, mentors how to support the department at this time through continuing to plan some lessons for the classes that you teach (we recommend at least one whole class). The opportunity to do this will allow you to demonstrate progress against the teachers’ standards.


  • If this is not possible, you could contribute to the wider departmental resources that may be necessary, should the closures continue?


Those returning to placement C school.

 This is a little more difficult as this will very much depend on whether you have a timetable to return to, however given you know the settings and the pupils,  we would advise you to reach out  to the department again asking how you can help.


  • Is there a class or classes that you know well from placement A that you could plan for/assist with planning?
  • Are there any departmental resources you could develop?
  • Any marking you can undertake?



Other things to consider.

All of the suggestions above have been made assuming you are in good health and able to continue to work, albeit working from home.

If you develop any symptoms, please self-isolate and only continue to work if you are fit and able. Please rest assured, time off for Coronavirus would not impede your ability to complete the programme. Working parents, we know you face the challenge of working from home and caring for children, in such a case we ask you do what you can but ultimately you and your loved ones come first.



Alliance for Learning
Cavendish Road, Bowdon
Altrincham WA14 2NL
Proud to part of the Bright Futures Education Trust