Teacher apprenticeship providers get fast-track treatment

Teachers could be upskilled in subject specialisms via a new ECF, NASBTT chief Emma Hollis has said

Thirty-six teacher-training organisations have been approved to deliver apprenticeships after the Department for Education opened a secret application window just for them.

Seventeen academy trusts, 11 schools, three universities, three councils and two other organisations were given special treatment after a “disastrous” first attempt by the government to get teacher training providers registered, which saw only around a third pass the application process.

The list includes some big names from the academies community, including the Harris Federation, the Kemnal Academies Trust, White Horse Federation and Bright Futures Educational Trust.

South Farnham Educational Trust, headed up by government teacher training tsar Sir Andrew Carter, has also been approved to deliver apprenticeships as part of the latest tranche, approved outside the normal timetable so they can be ready to offer new teaching apprenticeships from September.

I can’t see how apprenticeships are going to be successful as long as we are facing these kinds of unnecessary barriers

The new route into teaching, which will be a level six degree apprenticeship open only to existing graduates, has been several years in the making.

Other employers and training companies have been denied the opportunity to join the government’s register of apprenticeship training providers since the third and most recent application window shut at the end of October, with results published in January.

However, the Education and Skills Funding Agency allowed for an “extenuating circumstance” and opened the register solely for initial teacher training organisations between February 28 and March 9.

A spokesperson for the ESFA claimed that the special window was opened to ensure there are enough accredited ITT providers in place to deliver the postgraduate teacher apprenticeship from September 2018.

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The postgraduate teacher apprenticeship was only approved for delivery in October, at which point the ESFA started encouraging ITTs, particularly school-centred initial teacher training providers (SCITTs), to get on the register so they can deliver the standard from its launch date this September.

Emma Hollis (pictured), the executive director of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers, said the second application window was forced on the government because of a calamitous first attempt, during which it is understood around 60 ITTs applied but only 20 were approved.

In the build-up to this special round, the government offered webinars and training to ITTs on how to write their bids because the first time had been “such a train wreck”.

But this second attempt didn’t go as smoothly as hoped either, Hollis said. One unnamed SCITT, rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, failed in its first attempt due to inadequate answers to two questions in its bid.

This provider worked with the Institute for Apprenticeships to improve, but failed at its second attempt as a result of its answer to a safeguarding question which it had passed in the first round and hadn’t made any changes to.

“You can’t make it up,” Hollis said. “I can’t see how apprenticeships are going to be successful as long as we are facing these kinds of unnecessary barriers.”

“We hope that the apprenticeship route will complement our successful Schools Direct and SCITT programmes and enable us to support more entrants into teaching,” said Heath Monk, the executive director of the Schools of King Edward VI in Birmingham, one of the organisations approved this week.

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  1. Is this the same Kemnal Academies Trust? Apr-13 TKAT Bridgemary School Ofsted “inadequate”
    Jul-13 TKAT Collapse of Swedish “free” school chain
    Jul-13 TKAT Havant Academy Ofsted “inadequate”
    Oct-13 TKAT Bridgemary School Warning notice issued re Bridgemary School
    Jan-14 TKAT The Kemnal Academy Trust Overall 2013 GCSE results below floor target
    Jan-14 TKAT TKAT 26 out of 40 heads replaced
    Jan-14 TKAT Weyfield Primary Academy Head disappears over holidays, Weyfield Primary
    Feb-14 TKAT Dame Janet Primary Requires improvement
    Mar-14 TKAT King Harold B & E Academy Requires improvement
    Jun-14 TKAT Heybridge Primary Requires improvement
    Jun-14 TKAT Portfield Primary School Requires improvement
    Jul-14 TKAT Salmestone Primary Requires improvement
    Jul-14 TKAT Seymour Primary Requires improvement
    Jul-14 TKAT Criticised by Ofsted: Overwhelming proportion of pupils not getting reasonable education
    Oct-14 TKAT Thomas Bennett Community Requires improvement
    Nov-14 TKAT Weyfield Primary Academy Inadequate (see previous entry)
    Jan-15 TKAT Newlands Primary Requires improvement
    Jul-15 TKAT Chichester High School for Boys Requires improvement

    • Mark Watson

      I’m a bit confused.
      Firstly, what do any of those references have to do with TKAT’s ability to deliver apprenticeships?
      Secondly, have you just copied and pasted a whole chunk of the Anti Academies Alliance website without checking they actually refer to TKAT? As an example, I looked at the TES article that the AAA’s “Collapse of Swedish “free” school chain” links to. Doesn’t refer to TKAT anywhere.
      Thirdly, do you realise how out of date your references to schools being RI are? A quick look on Ofsted shows that Bridgemary School, Havant Academy, King Harold B & E Academy, and Heybridge Primary are now all rated as ‘Good’ (I gave up looking after five schools).

      • TKAT received an Ofsted letter of concern in July 2014. That is nw out of date. For up-to-date list of Ofsted judgements see and click on the Ofsted ratings tab. That will save you searching for each school individually. The list shows:
        2 outstanding schools, 27 good, 12 RI and 3 have no data.
        TKAT seems more successful at the primary stage (MAT average for reading and maths = close to average, writing = well above) than at secondary (MAT progress 8 well below average).
        TKAT’s School-centred initial teacher training was inspected in May 2014 (shortly before the Ofsted letter of concern) said TKAT’s SCITT was good. Inspectors said many positive things but did say that a larger cohort of trainees could result in outcomes being less good than previously.
        Whether the above is conclusive evidence of TKAT’s ability to train apprentices at the same time as training teachers and improving its secondary academies’ performance is debatable.

        • Mark Watson

          That all-in-one link to review all Ofsteds across a MAT is very useful – many thanks.
          Your post is far more relevant to the subject matter of this article then the first one above.

          • Janet Downs

            Mark – my concern re TKAT is that it may be taking on too much. It’s already been criticised for growing too fast and Ofsted voiced concern about the increased number of teacher trainees possibly reducing quality, as already noted. And while its primary performance doesn’t raise concern, its ‘well-below average’ progress at secondary level does.

          • Mark Watson

            And in my opinion that’s a valid concern. However, and I’m certainly not an expert in this and don’t have the answers, will getting approval to offer apprenticeships mean that TKAT is stretched further or will it result in additional income meaning more resources can be brought in which will help alleviate the current pressure?
            We don’t get any information in this article that helps us understand this. (That’s not a criticism though)