Winchester's teaching courses rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted

13 May 2024

Ofsted has rated primary and secondary teacher training at the University of Winchester 'Outstanding' across the board.  

Inspectors gave the University the top rating for its quality of education and training, leadership and management, and overall effectiveness. 

It says the University develops students who have a considerable breadth of confidence and competence to launch their teaching careers, and who will nurture pupils' “curiosity and wonder”.  

The report says trainees are well prepared for their careers in the classroom thanks to the highly ambitious curriculum, supportive staff, and seamless integration of campus-based training and teaching placements. 

It states that when teaching students graduate from the University, " “they are exceedingly well prepared to teach in a variety of contexts” with the “knowledge and skills to meet the demands of a teaching career”.  

The ten-strong Ofsted team visited the University in March and as part of a rigorous inspection process, visited local schools where Winchester students were undertaking placements. 

They met with a broad range of University staff, including Institute of Education leaders, subject tutors, mentors, and headteachers, as well as 93 trainees and 33 early career teachers. 

According to Ofsted, the University's Primary Education courses are “highly ambitious” and “meticulously constructed”. Students are taught by experts who champion every subject, and there is a firm commitment to inclusion.  

The inspection team said students benefit from training that instils a love of reading, carefully crafted fieldwork activities, and high-quality mentoring during school placements. 

The high quality of training in additional needs and managing behaviour is reflected throughout the report. The inspectors concluded that their training at the University of Winchester ensures that "Early Career Teachers enter the profession with an already sophisticated understanding of managing behaviour… and how to adapt approaches according to age and/or additional needs". 

The strong commitment to inclusive practice was praised during the inspection, which noted that "…trainees gain a broad range of knowledge on how to respond flexibly to meet the needs of all pupils".  

The inspectors described Winchester's PGCE Secondary teacher training programme as "inspirational" and its leaders as "relentless in their drive to ensure that the quality of education and training trainees receive is exceptional." 

The report states that the "…programme is underpinned by their strong moral purpose to create 'future educators' to serve the communities trainees will work in. This vision is fully understood and realised because leaders foster high-quality relationships with and between schools, staff and trainees. Consequently, this enables trainees to flourish as new entrants to the profession." 

Echoing a strength of the Primary programmes, the Inspectors found that PGCE Secondary student teachers "feel well prepared to support pupils with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) or those who speak English as an additional language.” 

Dr Laura Clarke, Director of the Institute of Education, said:

“We are delighted the inspection team recognised many of the qualities of our programmes. The outstanding grade reflects the commitment of our tutor and administrative teams, schools and mentors who work so hard to produce excellent new teachers for our region's schools. We are proud of our programmes that enable trainees to become outstanding teachers, dedicated to inclusive practice and instilling a love of learning. We value highly the partnerships we have with our schools and mentors. We are pleased that the inspectors also recognised the importance of these relationships in developing trainees ready to enter the profession.” 

Dr Cathy Gower, Dean of the Faculty of Education and the Arts, said:

“The inspection outcomes further reinforce our long-standing University commitment to preparing the highest quality public sector workforce for the future. Teachers trained at Winchester continue to be unwavering in their commitment to making a difference to the life chances of young people by providing a transformative educational experience. Our trainees and alumni live and breathe our institutional values through the work they do in all educational settings, and we are incredibly proud of them.” 

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester Professor Sarah Greer said:

“The University started life in 1840 as a training college for teachers and nearly two centuries later we continue to serve the region by producing outstanding teachers. 

“Ofsted’s latest report shows that our graduates are highly capable and confident teachers who are ready for the challenges of the classroom and ready to pass on the gift of learning and transformational education to the school pupils of the future.” 

Pictured top: Students at the University of Winchester celebrate the Outstanding rating given to their courses by Ofsted inspectors 

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