Teacher apprentice scheme only hits 10% of target

Apprenticeship route into teaching fails to attract the 1,000 people anticipated after concerns it offers little advantage to trainees

Helen Ward

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New statistics show that just 90 teacher trainees were taken on under the new postgraduate apprenticeship route this September.

The route was announced in October last year, with an employers' plan setting a target of attracting 1,000 trainees.

The Teacher Apprenticeship Assessment Plan, submitted by the trailblazer group of employers, stated: “We anticipate that there will be around 1,000 apprentices in the first year, with the number of apprentices likely to increase in subsequent years.”

The apprenticeship standard for teachers is a postgraduate qualification, which allows trainees to earn a salary while training.

But there has been some scepticism about the route’s ability to attract additional trainees, as it is very similar to the existing school direct (salaried) route.

Both lead to qualified teacher status after three terms, but apprentices then have to work a further term to gain the apprentice qualification and pass another further assessment.

And there have been warnings that providers were being put off by the red tape involved, with teacher training providers having to register as apprenticeship training providers.

Emma Hollis, executive director of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), said: “This is not a huge surprise. From the outset we were unconvinced that the apprenticeship route would bring additionality.

"The entry requirements are exactly the same as for any other postgraduate route and as school direct (salaried) is likely to be more appealing to a trainee, it was unlikely the apprenticeship was going to have huge appeal.

"The 90 who undertook the apprenticeship route would more than likely have entered via another route had apprenticeships not been available and I would imagine that these do not, therefore, represent anyone additional to the profession – they are simply being trained via a route funded through the levy rather than traditional funding streams."

She said the "massive administrative burden" to get on the apprenticeship register meant it was "not financially viable" for many providers.

Ms Hollis added: "The recent news that all providers are going to have to reapply to the register within the next 12 months will only exacerbate this situation.”

The provisional statistics from the Department for Education show that for the current academic year there are 70 primary teacher apprentices, while 20 people have taken up secondary teacher apprenticeship posts.

In contrast 2,735 people are training through the School Direct (salaried) route.

The statistics also show that there were 29,085 new entrants to postgraduate teacher training in September with a further 175 due to begin later this year.

Plans for a non-graduate teaching apprenticeship which would allow teaching assistants without degrees to train as teachers are no longer being developed.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We do not have a target for the number of Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeships we are aiming to recruit. This figure is taken from a third-party that is responsible for the apprenticeship standard.
“More than 34,500 new trainee teachers started teacher training courses this year – over 2,600 more than in 2017 – and we are aiming to increase the number of postgraduate apprenticeship starts in the coming years.”

The TES Institute is a postgraduate apprenticeship provider

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Helen Ward

Helen Ward

Helen Ward is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @teshelen

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