Government announces details of postgraduate teaching apprenticeships

Graduates will be paid as unqualified teachers while training

Helen Ward

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The government has announced details of the new postgraduate teaching apprenticeships today.

The new scheme will enable graduates to be employed as unqualified teachers while training and will be launched in September 2018.

Education secretary Justine Greening said: “Getting the best people to train as teachers and into our classrooms is a crucial part of giving every child the high-quality education they deserve. This new route will provide another pathway for talented graduates into a profession that will give them the chance to change lives for the better on a daily basis.”

Schools which are not eligible for the apprenticeship levy will receive government funding to cover 90 per cent of the training costs. Applications will open through UCAS on October 26.

The apprenticeship standard guidance published today reveals that 1,000 people are expected to choose to train as an apprentice teacher in the first year.

The apprenticeship standard sets out the same entry requirements, including passing the skills tests, as other graduate initial teacher training programmes.

It will typically take at 12 months to complete (with 12 months being the minimum length) and achieving QTS will be mandatory to successfully complete the course.

Apprentices will be assessed against the teachers’ standards by accredited providers of initial teacher education, in line with current teacher training practice.

But having finished their initial programme and gained QTS, apprentices will have to pass a further assessment within their first three months as a newly-qualified teacher.

This further assessment will be in two parts: a lesson observation from an independent assessor, and a “professional discussion” between the apprentice, the independent assessor, a representative from the training provider and a representative from the apprentice’s school.

The professional discussion will last for an hour and assess the apprentice’s knowledge, skills and behaviour – looking at aspects such as whether they can adapt teaching to respond to the needs of all pupils and manage behaviour effectively.

Candidates will have to bring along a portfolio of work which was completed during their training to aid the discussion. The work in the portfolio will not be assessed.

Apprentice teachers will get an apprenticeship certificate.

Like other training routes, apprentices must spend 120 days in a school and teach in at least two schools.​

But the plans have been criticised by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL). Malcolm Trobe, ASCL's director of public affairs, said: This looks like a hastily developed way of enabling schools to claim back against the apprenticeship levy.

“Potential applicants into teaching are already faced with a confusing number of routes into the profession and the addition of another route which appears very similar to School Direct will only add to the confusion. It would be far better if schools were exempt from the apprenticeship levy and that the focus was on rationalising the existing routes into teaching.

“The proposals as they stand have practical difficulties that will need to be resolved including how QTS can be awarded after three terms and then a final assessment be signed off after four terms; indeed the whole implementation timetable is unrealistic in the extreme.”

Plans for an undergraduate route to teaching have not yet been developed. The government said today: "Although the details of the undergraduate route have not yet been developed, we are clear that no one will be able to become a qualified teacher without first gaining an undergraduate degree."

The government has also confirmed it is piloting a new programme of student loan repayments for around 800 modern foreign language teachers and 1,700 science teachers a year.

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Helen Ward

Helen Ward

Helen Ward is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @teshelen

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