The long-awaited teacher training apprenticeship has passed its first stage with policy makers and is on the way to becoming a reality.
It’s hoped that by making school-centred training more accessible for teachers and schools, teacher recruitment will not only improve but so too will retention as NQTs exit their ITT courses better prepared for the challenges of teaching.
“We need to train 35,000 teachers a year – that’s a group the same size as the British Navy… If each of the 22,000 schools in England trained one teacher we’d be half way there. If they trained two, we’d have 9,000 left over.” Sir Andrew Carter OBE
A new course for a new era
Sir Andrew Carter OBE told heads of SCITTs and ITT providers at the Inside Government conference this June that talks are underway to establish the Teacher Training Apprenticeship as a new route to obtaining Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).
Although a range of on-the-job training routes have been available for some time, teacher training apprenticeships currently don’t exist, so there is much detail to be hashed out, such as funding and assessment.
How should we measure an apprenticeship?
In the spirit of innovation, creators of the apprenticeship have been careful not to restrict the course to one or two academic years; it may take 4 or 5 terms with QTS awarded mid-way. If the NQT period is indeed extended to two years as suggested, it could form the start of a much stronger cumulative qualification.
Anyone in further education will know that, unlike current ITT courses, apprenticeships are unique in that the assessors must be a separate body from those delivering the training so a standardised assessment process for our 22,000 schools must now be designed and approved.
Just more of the same?
The apprenticeship might demand around 20% off-the-job training and the intention is that it will result in QTS as well as a range of transferable skills. In reality, this apprenticeship would look much like the current Schools Direct Salaried, and may replace it.
An apprenticeship has the immediate benefit of allowing teachers to earn while they learn but unlike School Direct students, who are supernumerary, apprentices would be employees so they would not have access to student loans. For schools, they are most likely to be able to access the levy cash but towards the training only.
This year, important changes to Local Authority tax bills mean that LAs, and in turn schools, are currently liable for the new government “apprenticeship levy”, which is an annual charge of half a percent for any employers with a staffing bill of more than 3 million pounds a year.
As local authorities fall into this category, they pass the cost down, meaning that schools (except C of E aided schools) are currently paying around £8-£10 per pupil towards this apprenticeship levy. As a result, there is new motivation for schools to take on an apprentice and take advantage of apprentice training bursaries to at least claim back some of that lost income.
Schools will now need to consider how to gain a return on a salary payment that doesn’t necessarily cover teaching hours. Could an unqualified teacher drawing a salary teach under the guidance of an experienced teacher?
About the author
Katie Newell BA(Hons) PGCE is an ex-primary school teacher, Head of Maths, Head of Year five and languages specialist. Katie qualified in Psychology at Liverpool then specialised in Primary Languages for her PGCE at Reading. Before teaching, Katie was a financial commentator and is now the Content Manager for eteach.com and fejobs.com. Katie feels passionately that teachers are the unsung heroes of society; that opening minds to creative timetabling could revolutionise keeping women in teaching, and that a total change to pupil feedback is the key to solving the work life balance issue for the best job in the world.