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SEND apprenticeship pilot attracts just three recruits

Just three people have signed up for a new SEND-specific course piloted by the government’s flagship teacher training provider. 

The National Institute of Teaching (NIoT) announced a trial for the primary postgraduate teacher apprenticeship (PGTA) in May. 

It was set to take in 14 participants across 14 London schools this autumn, but has recruited only three.

NIoT, which said it had accepted deferrals for next year from 15 candidates, said it believed timing had been a major stumbling block.

The pilot was approved this spring, several months into the 2023-24 initial teacher training (ITT) recruitment cycle.

“We were overwhelmed with interest in the programme, and we already have many expressions of interest for 2024-25,” said Melanie Renowden, the institute’s chief executive

Melanie Renowden

“We’ve learned some lessons from our recruitment processes this year, and coupled with the insights we’ll get from the pilot, we’re excited to see what 2024 has to bring.”

The provider initially said the scheme, which is supported by the Eden Academy Trust, would be rolled out nationally next September if it was successful.

It confirmed this week it would be rolled out further next year, despite this year’s shortfall in recruits.

The apprenticeship scheme was set up in response to understaffing in SEND. 

A previous Schools Week investigation found that six in every 1,000 teacher posts within the specialist sector in 2021 was vacant, compared with three in every 1,000 across state schools.

Latest school workforce census data shows this increased in 2022, when nine in every 1,000 teacher posts in special schools were vacant. 

The equivalent figure for all state schools was five vacancies per 1,000 posts. 

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