Trainees who are not on track to achieve qualified teacher status (QTS) by the end of this academic year will be able to resume their studies in the autumn, the government has said.
Course extension funding will be made available for initial teacher training (ITT) providers to continue training for "a small minority of teacher trainees" who were not making "adequate progress" towards the teachers' standards at the time the coronavirus pandemic disrupted their studies, according to the Department for Education.
It was revealed in March that all trainees on track to meet the teachers' standards by the end of their course should be recommended for QTS.
Coronavirus: New teacher job vacancies drop
Accountability: 'Delay new ITT inspections', Ofsted told
But providers were told that trainees must finish their course to its end in order to qualify.
Coronavirus: Financial support for trainee teachers
Now the DfE has said that those trainees who are not making "adequate progress" towards the teachers' standards should continue their studies in the autumn, with courses to conclude – in most cases – by December 2020.
To facilitate this, providers will be able to apply for funding in two separate streams:
- Trainee funding of £1,300 per trainee per month – this is to support trainees during the extension period of their courses, up to a maximum of five months and £6,500.
- Provider funding of £750 per trainee per month – this is to address the costs of course extensions, up to a maximum of four months and £3,000.
The DfE says it expects providers to request funding for around 5 per cent of their cohort.
The new guidance states: "A small minority of trainee teachers will not have been making adequate progress. Schools and ITT providers should take steps to enable these trainees to continue their training in autumn term 2020, with courses to conclude, in most cases, by December 2020.
"It is for the ITT provider to determine the duration and content of training that takes place in this period.
"Course extension funding is available to support these trainees, their ITT provider and employing schools (for employment-based routes).
"This funding is specifically for trainees in this group and should not be claimed or used for any other purpose.
"Course extension funding will only be paid where the length of the course exceeds its originally planned duration and only for the extension portion of the course."
The funding is available for all ITT trainees (on routes leading to QTS), except those on Teach First.
The guidance adds that the DfE "will recover any course extension funding paid to schools or providers for trainees who are subsequently found not to be eligible for it".
"Should this occur, you must make all reasonable efforts to recover from trainees where appropriate," it says.
Emma Hollis, executive director of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), said: "We are delighted to read the announcement from DfE that funding will be made available both to trainee teachers who need additional time to achieve QTS, and for the providers who will be supporting them to do so.
"This is something that we have been calling for since ITT programmes were disrupted at the beginning of the pandemic and it is testament to ongoing engagement between ITT providers and the DfE that the needs of the sector have been heard."