New routes for talented ex-armed forces personnel to become teachers

Published on Friday, 07 June 2013 12:38
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

The government today launched Troops to Teachers - a new scheme designed to make it easier for highly-skilled former members of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force to become teachers.

Troops to Teachers will provide teacher training opportunities to service leavers - with significant extra benefits including salaries while training, bursaries and bespoke training.

There will be 2 routes:

From September, service leavers with degrees will be able to enrol on teacher training programmes with additional bespoke training and £2,000 bursary uplifts.

From January 2014, highly-skilled service leavers without degrees will be able to enrol on a 2-year, school-based, salaried training programme. These service leavers will be the only people able to start training as a teacher without a degree and be qualified within 2 years.

Those accepted on to courses will have gone through a rigorous selection process which will assess their skills, experience, technical or subject expertise and qualifications. (Please see the final point in 'Notes to editors' below.)

Education Minister David Laws said the scheme would help ex-servicemen and women, who had the potential to become great teachers, make the transition to the classroom. He added that pupils would benefit from the experience, background and skills that ex-military personnel had gained in "our inspiring armed forces".

The programme is inspired by the successful US programme, T3. This showed that armed forces leavers can make outstanding teachers and role models, particularly in developing leadership skills and engaging disaffected students.

Education Minister David Laws said:

Many members of our inspiring armed forces possess the skills and expertise relevant and transferable to the classroom – leadership, discipline, motivation and teamwork. Every child can benefit from having these values instilled in them.

We want to capture the ethos and talents of those leaving the armed forces, and bring this experience into teaching. We know that our highly-skilled servicemen and women can inspire young people and help raise educational attainment.

Troops to Teachers will make it easier for those who have already contributed so much to our country to continue their brilliant work - this time in the classroom.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:

This new initiative will be beneficial not only to the veterans who are able to undertake a new and challenging career, but also to the young people who will learn from teachers that possess unique expertise in areas such as leadership, problem-solving, and adaptability.

A career in the armed forces provides skills and experience you cannot gain anywhere else, and I would encourage anyone leaving the services to take the opportunity to pass on their invaluable knowledge and instil respect, discipline and pride in the next generation.

Service leavers with degrees

Forces leavers with degrees can apply for a number of Troops to Teachers graduate courses, all starting in September, and all leading to qualified teacher status (QTS):

  • The 1-year School Direct salaried course: to apply, forces leavers need to have served for 3 or more years. They will be given additional, bespoke training to ensure their teaching makes the most of their unique skills and experience.
  • The 1-year School Direct non-salaried route: forces leavers who were in the military for any length of time can apply for this, and for a £2,000 bursary uplift.
  • A 1-year university-based course, for example a PGCE: forces leavers who apply for this route may also be eligible for the £2,000 bursary uplift.

Service leavers without degrees

From January 2014, highly-skilled ex-military who do not have degrees, but who have gained qualifications or experiences in the forces - for example, teaching, instructing, mentoring and coaching - will be able to enrol on a new 2-year, school-based, salaried teacher training programme.

This will be a far quicker and more attractive route into teaching than currently exists for non-graduates because there will be no need to study for a degree before starting teacher training.

This programme will use a rigorous assessment, selection and recruitment process to identify armed service leavers with the potential to become outstanding teachers.

Those accepted on to the course will get:

  • 4 days a week of school-based teacher training leading to QTS1 day a week teacher training at university
  • a salary while training - this will be 80% of a non-qualified teacher's pay rate
  • personalised training and development, exclusive to service leavers, to enhance skills and expertise

Service leavers who successfully complete the 2-year programme will gain a degree as well as QTS.

Lance Bolton, 30, served as a guardsman in the Coldstream Guards between 2003 and 2007, including a 7-month tour of Iraq. He starts as a design and technology teacher at Oriel High School, Crawley, West Sussex, this year.

He said:

When I left the Army I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I didn't have the GCSEs or A levels to get to university to do a teaching degree so I had to do a year's course first. But I got my grades and I'm just about to complete 3 years at university, the last 2 at Brighton. I've done 2 placements at schools and loved it. I can't wait to start at my new school.

I think I'll be able to transfer the skills and experience I learnt in the Army to the classroom and help pupils understand the importance of teamwork, discipline, punctuality, respect, looking people in the eye.

Troops to Teachers is the latest part of the government's drive to promote military ethos in schools.

Other government initiatives include:

  • funding 4 projects which employ former armed forces personnel to improve educational achievement among pupils disengaged with education. The projects aim to instil teamwork, discipline and leadership in pupils through mentoring, outward bound activities and other group exercises to improve pupil attainment and behaviour, both inside and outside of the classroom
  • expanding the cadet forces - by 2015, up to 100 more state-funded schools will be able to develop cadet units
  • a £1.5 million grant to the charity SkillForce so that it can recruit an extra 100 ex-service personnel to act as mentors to young people in challenging schools and communities across England
  • exploring how academies and free schools can use their freedoms to foster a military ethos and raise standards

Source: DfE

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