Since early 2020, COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on teacher education. We consider novel aspects of how pre-service teachers have collaboratively developed their professional identities during the pandemic. Drawing on findings from forty-five interviews with pre-service high school teachers working in England during September 2020–June 2021, we share how collaborative identity development was central and occurred in a variety of spaces, communities and modes. Collaborative identity development featured in how pre-service teachers saw themselves making a positive contribution to society through education and, in strong subject connections. Reflection that is collaborative, personalised, iterative, and separate from notions of formal progression enables positive identity work. Notions of identity are absent from international policy initiatives in ITE (Initial Teacher Education). This case study provides insights for policy makers in and beyond England who aim to support teachers at the beginning of their career so that they are retained.