Teacher degree apprenticeships will not solve the recruitment crisis

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to the government’s announcement that a new teaching apprenticeship will launch this autumn.
We think this is a good idea in principle, but it is unlikely that teacher degree apprenticeships will provide anywhere near the number of qualified teachers required to solve the recruitment and retention crisis. The plan to run a pilot scheme is a sensible first step as delivering these apprenticeships will be a complex undertaking for schools and it will be important to understand how they will work in practice and the resources and time required. We are concerned about how realistic this will be in reality for many schools given the number of competing demands on them and the lack of sufficient staffing and funding in the education system. 

“In any event, it will take a long time before degree apprenticeships make any impact at all on the recruitment and retention crisis being experienced by schools and colleges right now, and we think it is likely that the system will continue to rely on the traditional postgraduate training routes for the foreseeable future. 

“The problem is that this supply line is broken with only half of the required number of secondary school teachers being recruited into postgraduate training this academic year and targets having been missed for most of the past 10 years. The only real answer to this is an improvement to teaching salaries to make them more competitive in the graduate market and more action to tackle the systemic pressures which drive people out of the profession such as high levels of workload and stress.

“We have said all of this repeatedly to the government, but it is has simply failed to respond with the resolve that is required