Teaching is all 'good' at Sunderland

Dr Lynne McKenna

Published on 26 February 2016

In a recent Ofsted inspection of the University’s Initial Teacher Education Partnership inspectors rated its delivery as good overall and for each category: outcomes for trainees; quality of training; and quality of leadership and management across the partnership.

The robust independent evaluation judged the University’s effectiveness in delivering Primary, Secondary and Further Education against a range of criteria and in a number of settings, including in classrooms in schools and colleges.

Inspectors referenced the clear strengths in the partnership, stating that "the overall effectiveness of the primary, secondary and further education partnerships is good because trainees are helped to teach children, pupils, students and learners well."

There are 230 schools in the Primary Partnership covering 13 local authorities; 97 schools in 13 local authorities in the Secondary Partnership and the Further Education Partnership represent lifelong learning settings throughout the North East.

Inspectors judged one of the primary partnership’s key strengths to be the employability of Sunderland trainees, stating "they are meeting local demand well because trainees are committed to teaching and are confident about entering the profession; trainees and NQTs demonstrate good attitudes and attributes. Coupled with their commitment to teaching, there is little wonder why they are seen as so employable, particularly locally. They are confident about entering the profession, understand their responsibilities well and display high levels of willingness to contribute to wider aspects of school life. Through discussions and observations, it was clear to inspectors that they promote positive attitudes in their pupils, including good behaviour and good behaviour for learning."

The secondary partnership works with approximately 97 schools in 13 local authorities located around the university. Successful trainees gain a PGCE with QTS to teach in the 11 to 18 age range.

Of the Partnership inspectors commented: "The partnership is well respected by its trainees, former trainees, NQTs and schools. Schools employing former trainees from the University of Sunderland hold them in high regard."

The key strengths of the FE partnership were seen to be consistently high retention, completion and achievement rates and that the training of good-quality further education and skills teachers enables them to make a valued contribution to the colleges and settings in which they work.

Assessors commented: "Trainees and NQTs work with confidence and expertise to plan and teach lively, interesting and challenging lessons that enable learners to make progress and achieve. Also trainees benefit from highly qualified research leaders in further education who enable trainees to apply academic rigour to improve the practice of teaching and strong and dynamic leadership has ensured that all partners are fully engaged in the redesign and development of the programme."

Dr Lynne McKenna, Head of Department of Education at the University of Sunderland, commented: "We are really pleased with the results; the Ofsted inspectors were impressed with the quality of our teaching, the impact of the partnership on education in the region and the employability of our graduates, all of which is really rewarding feedback for the team to hear. Ofsted also gave us some useful advice to further improve and we are already taking that on board in our continuous development."