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What you need to know about teaching apprenticeships

A new apprenticeship route into teaching for non-graduates will launch in 2025.

The Department for Education will begin recruiting for a pilot of 150 maths trainees in the autumn, with training beginning next September.

Here’s what you need to know…

1. Why is the government creating this route?

Since the advent of the apprenticeship levy in 2017, schools, trusts and councils have struggled to find ways to spend the money they pay in.

Because teachers make up such a large proportion of schools’ workforces, the lack of an undergraduate route leaves leaders with few options. A one-year postgraduate route was created in 2018, but requires an existing degree.

The government is also under pressure to plug worsening gaps in teacher supply. They missed their secondary teacher recruitment target by 50 per cent this year.

The DfE has also said it wants to provide a route for teaching assistants to become teachers. Entry requirements will be GCSEs at grade 4 (or C) or above in English and maths, and also in science for primary.

2. How long will it last and what will trainees get?

The teacher degree apprenticeship (TDA) will last for four years, with trainees getting a degree at level 6 and qualified teacher status (QTS).

The DfE said QTS would be “awarded against the Teachers’ Standards – this is the same for all other routes into teaching”. The courses “must adhere to the ITT [initial teacher training] criteria [and] encompass all aspects of the ITT core content framework (CCF)”.

Apprentices would spend “around 40 per cent” of their time studying and the rest of the time in the classroom. It is not clear whether they will need to be supervised when teaching classes.

3. Who will deliver the training?

The DfE has said the apprenticeships will be delivered by organisations with “degree awarding powers”, such as universities, but said other teacher training providers could “partner” on the training.

There will be one apprenticeship standard, but individual courses will be “subject specific”, the DfE said. For example, providers will offer a TDA course in secondary maths or chemistry, or primary education.

The department said it was “working with subject experts and the trailblazer group to co-develop how universities and schools offering the TDA can ensure secondary subject specialism is comprehensive and high-quality”.

ITT content will be the same as other routes to qualified teacher status.

4. What will apprentices get paid?

Apprentices are paid on the job, but it is not clear what rate those on the degree apprenticeship route will receive.

The apprentice minimum wage is just £5.28 for those in their first year, but trainees on the current postgraduate route into teaching are paid on the unqualified teacher pay scale, which starts at just over £20,000 a year outside London.

The DfE said details on salary for teacher apprentices “is under review”.

5. Why are unions concerned?

Paul Whiteman, of the National Association of Head Teachers, said the threshold for entry to teacher training “should continue to include holding a degree”. He feared the proposals would “truncate degrees and teacher training”.

It is worth pointing out that the apprentices will have a degree by the time they finish their training. It is also already possible to enter undergraduate teacher training routes, such as a bachelor’s degree in education, without an existing degree.

The DfE said the structure of the TDA “will ensure trainees have sufficient time to attain their degree while also spending a portion of their time in school”.

6. What happens next (and who pays)?

Ministers will launch recruitment to the pilot scheme in the autumn. This will see the government “working with a small number of schools and teacher training providers to fund up to 150 apprentices to work in secondary schools to teach maths”.

Training providers “will bid to partake in the pilot and trainees will be recruited from this autumn and start their training the following year”.

The pilot will only include government funding for the training of one cohort.

After that, schools will have to use levy funding. The DfE said providers and schools could also “develop and run” apprenticeship courses with their own funding from September 2025.

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