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Why teacher apprenticeships can help tackle the teacher recruitment challenge

There has never been a more pressing need for alternative, cost- effective ways of training and recruiting new teachers. Teacher apprenticeships will help fulfil that demand.

There has never been a more pressing need for alternative, cost- effective ways of training and recruiting new teachers. Teacher apprenticeships will help fulfil that demand.

12 Oct 2023, 9:00

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When you hear the word apprenticeship, what comes to mind?

Vocational training routes for school-leavers would probably be high on the list, but that would overlook the revolution that has happened in apprenticeship provision for the school workforce in recent years.

There has never been a more pressing need for alternative, cost-effective ways of training and recruiting new teachers. Teacher apprenticeships will help fulfil that demand – offering an attractive pathway to QTS for TAs and other support staff whilst widening the pool of trainee teachers by removing the financial constraints of ITT.

The challenge is certainly substantial. England is facing a shortage of teachers. With expensive tuition fees and an unpaid year of training, it is understandable why some are hesitant to pursue a career in teaching. Also, new teachers often lack the support they need to succeed, which can lead to high turnover rates.

The fact is that apprenticeships can offer schools a much more affordable, flexible and supportive tool to help increase the number of new teachers in the profession – and keep them there.

So why should you consider teacher apprenticeships? They are funded by the Apprenticeship Levy, so there are no tuition fees to pay for a start.

MATs and LEAs can use their Levy pot to pay for 100% of the training fees for their academies and maintained schools, thereby avoiding having their Levy contributions being clawed back by central government. Accessing Apprenticeship Levy funding, previously seen as a somewhat complex and even daunting task, is made easy by Best Practice Network’s award-winning apprenticeship support team.

Apprentices also get a salary while they are training, which can help to cover their living expenses. The salary is paid on the unqualified teacher pay scale so that when taking employer grants into account, schools can employ an apprentice teacher for as little as £2,598 a year.

Teacher apprenticeships typically last for 12 months – shorter than the traditional two-year teacher training programme. This makes them a more flexible option for people who are already working or have other commitments.

Best Practice Network – one of the UK’s leading providers of training and professional development – is playing a major role in providing those apprenticeships to schools and trusts across the country. Our Teacher Apprenticeships provide a fee-free and salaried route into teaching.

It’s an approach which not only bridges the experience gap but also ensures that apprentice teachers are well-prepared to step into full teaching roles with confidence and competence. Throughout their 12-month programme, apprentice teachers are immersed in the day-to-day realities of the classroom, gaining valuable hands-on experience under the dedicated mentorship of seasoned teachers.

In a landscape where the shortage of teachers threatens the quality of education, the time has come for school and MAT leaders to take a proactive stance.

The teacher shortage crisis is not insurmountable; it’s an opportunity to explore innovative avenues for growth.

By embracing teacher apprenticeships, schools and MATs will not only help to fill those gaps in staffing – they can also enhance the standard of education they provide.

Viewpoint: why we took on an apprentice teacher

“We decided to take on an apprentice teacher because we knew they had a lot to offer the department, school and profession,” writes Aidan Jenkins, Director of Teacher Development, Futures Teaching School Alliance.

“Although it’s just as seamless to hire an apprentice without previous experience in our school, this apprentice was a current staff member in a non-teaching role who was simply blossoming.

“The idea of them having their training within the school, with the high-quality support of Best Practice Network’s teacher apprenticeship programme, seemed a better fit than the traditional teacher training route.

“Our apprentice made really good progress because they already felt a sense of belonging in the school and had a clear understanding of our ethos.

“Our apprentice is now a qualified teacher and part of the school’s fabric. And they are now ready to take their next steps in their professional learning by starting an NPQ.”

For more information about Best Practice Network’s teacher apprenticeships, go to https://www.bestpracticenet.co.uk/initial-teacher-training-apprenticeship-ITT-QTS-schools?utm_source=SchoolsWeek&utm_medium=advt&utm_campaign=SchoolsWeek

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