QTS consultation: Government considering sabbatical fund for teachers

The Department for Education has published its long-awaited consultation on plans to reform teacher training and development, including proposals for a pilot of a “sabbatical fund” for teachers.

The consultation on strengthening qualified teacher status is seeking views on on the benefits of setting up a sabbatical fund, which would be open to teachers “who have been qualified and teaching for at least seven years”.

Teachers would have to apply “with a specific project in mind”, and if they are successful the government would pay their salaries for up to a year.

The scope of the projects “would need to be clearly defined, and would need to demonstrate that they offer value for money, and are worthwhile in terms of experience within the system as well as professional development”, the government said.

“We would pilot any proposal to assess the impact of such an approach.”

As expected, the consultation also sets out plans to lengthen the time it takes teachers to fully qualify into the profession.

The government is considering a requirement for teachers to complete two years of additional in-school training after receiving their initial “qualified teacher status”.

There are no changes to initial teacher training proposed as part of the consultation, but there will be changes to when a teacher is fully qualified.

Under the proposals, trainee teachers will gain “provisional QTS” at the end of their initial teacher training.

The induction period following training will then be extended from one to two years, with fully qualified status awarded at the end of this longer induction period.

At present, teachers are only required to complete one induction year.

The government also wants to ensure all teachers have “an entitlement to a more structured period of support” at the start of their careers, and also proposes that the 10 per cent timetable reduction currently given to newly-qualified teachers in their induction year is extended to cover both years of the extended induction.

In February, Greening said a strengthened QTS would come into effect from September 2019. She also pledged to keep a “high bar for entry” to the profession.

Since then, the Department for Education has set out proposals for new teaching apprenticeships, but it stayed relatively quiet about its vision for QTS.

Headteachers and training providers involved in writing the consultation said on social media this week that the consultation is a “genuine” attempt by the government to seek ideas.


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  1. At last a good idea from the DfE.

    I worked in Leicestershire schools in the 1970s. The Leicestershire LEA had two such sabbatical schemes. One was for Heads/Principals and one was for classroom teachers/heads of department. The latter was in partnership with the excellent Leicester University School of Education Master of Educational Studies full time Degree course. I was granted secondment on full pay on this course for 1981/82 and it is no exaggeration to state that not only did this change my career but also my post retirement life as an educational author and blogger.

    I acknowledge this (in particular the Head of Course, Clive Sutton) in my book. ‘Learning Matters’.

    I think there were about 25 Leicestershire teachers that year who combined to provide a cohort of inspirational fellow students and who I am sure would fully endorse my view of the value of this secondment to the national education service as well as to the individuals involved.