Expanding a scheme that encourages former soldiers and other service personnel to train as teachers only “scratches the surface” of solving the recruitment crisis in schools.
That’s the view of the Association of School and College Leaders after education secretary Nicky Morgan announced this week that the University of Brighton had been chosen to lead the extended Troops for Teachers programme.
While the association acknowledged the scheme, in which a further two cohorts of trainees begin their employment-based teacher training in September this year and next, could result in some very good teachers coming through, it says more needs to be done.
General secretary Brian Lightman said: “The recruitment crisis in teaching is very serious. This scheme is really scratching the surface. There will be some people who can be very good teachers with the right training but more action needs to be taken to address what has become a very serious problem and there needs to be a strategic plan.”
ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted added: “As we’ve said before, encouraging former troops to become teachers is an interesting idea. Some will undoubtedly make excellent teachers, but only if they have solid training about child development, learning and the barriers to learning.”
The scheme is aimed at those who leave the services without a degree. Inspired by a similar programme in the US, it offers two years of school-based training, leading to qualified teacher status and a foundation degree.
Trainees are employed by their delivery school and receive a minimum of 80 per cent of point one of the unqualified teachers’ pay scale, which is currently £12,908.80.
Making the announcement, Ms Morgan said: “As part of our plan for education we need excellent teachers in every classroom to prepare children for life in modern Britain.
“At a visit to a recent study week, I was able to see for myself the high calibre of the current trainees and the wealth of skills they can bring to teaching, including leadership, teamwork, resilience and the ability to inspire and engage.”
The University of Brighton is part of a consortium of universities that delivered the teacher training scheme in the first waves, which started in January 2014.