This chapter considers how in recent decades many nation states have increasingly come to see education system reform as central to competing in a global knowledge economy. Coming alongside a growing consensus that teacher quality is overwhelmingly the most significant factor in determining the quality of educational outcomes, this has meant that teacher education, previously of marginal interest to policy makers, becoming a major policy priority.

Running in parallel to this reform process has been a growth in increasingly rigorous, and high-stakes, accountability processes, and in England this has been enacted through the work of OfSTED. This chapter examines the ways in which OfSTED’s approach has evolved from a ‘micro-managerialist’ one in which ITE course content, structure and delivery methods were subject to scrutiny, to one of ‘intelligent accountability’ which focused on the ability of leaders to develop a rigorous improvement culture. In particular, it examines the extent to which intelligent accountability is really, as OfSTED argues, a more collegial inspection model that hands power back to the professionals, or whether it leads to a restrictive culture of self-surveillance.

The chapter also examines the ambiguities inherent in the relationship between the government and the notionally independent inspectorate, and considers the ways in which accountability systems may evolve as a consequence of the growth of school-led Initial Teacher Education.