Press release

New school-led teacher training programme announced

Details of new plans to improve teacher training.

  • Extra bursaries for primary maths teachers and trainee teachers who work in the most challenging schools

  • Weeding out poor teacher training providers

Schools will soon get more of a say in how teachers are trained, including taking on new trainee teachers themselves, under new plans to be unveiled today (Thursday 14 June).

The new School Direct programme, starting this September, will allow schools to train top graduates as teachers in the subjects and phases they need, in the way they want them trained. They will also be able to choose which accredited provider - such as top universities or Teaching School partnerships - they want to work with.

This will give schools greater control of how new teachers are recruited and trained, encourage more school-led partnerships for teacher training, and will help drive up the quality of teacher training.

The plans include:

  • Extra financial incentives for trainee primary maths teachers and trainee teachers who work in the most challenging schools
  • More collaborative school-led teacher training for top graduates
  • Weeding out poor-quality initial teacher training (ITT) providers while guaranteeing allocations for outstanding ones
  • A new employment-based training programme for high-calibre career changers

Speaking at the National College annual conference in Birmingham, Education Secretary Michael Gove will say:

The idea is a simple one: take the very best schools, ones that are already working to improve other schools, and put them in charge of teacher training and professional development for the whole system

The impact of these changes on initial teacher training will be revolutionary. By the end of this Parliament well over half of all training places will be delivered by schools

Each year around 30,000 teacher training places are allocated to a network of ITT providers for qualification-based courses. School involvement in the way the courses are designed or managed is limited and varies between providers. Schools do not always have an influence over who is recruited and how they are trained. Too many trainees are also on courses which Ofsted considers as only ‘satisfactory’.

From this September there will be more than 900 places on the new school-led School Direct programme - nearly double the expected level. The programme will be expanded massively over the next few years as it is opened to all schools. It is expected that Teaching Schools, academy chains and outstanding schools will take the lead, working with other schools in their area.

By the end of the Parliament we expect that as many as 10,000 students a year could be trained by schools that are either offering Schools Direct places or are full providers of teacher training.

New dedicated training route for high-calibre career changers

Starting in September 2013, around 5000 teacher training places will be made available for high-calibre career changers, through a new employment-based strand of School Direct. This scheme will replace the current Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) which has been in place since 1998.

Whilst the GTP has delivered some superb training, and recruited some brilliant teachers, it has also suffered from serious flaws. Recruitment has not always been targeted at high-fliers, it has been difficult to access and apply to the programme, and some schools have been left frustrated by restrictions over salary and training.

The new School Direct route will build on the GTP’s strengths and give schools greater control. Those who have already gained at least 3 years’ valuable experience in the world of work will be able to apply for the programme via a single website.

Other plans include:

  • Extra £2,000 incentive on top of current bursaries for top graduates who train to become primary specialist maths teachers. Trainees with a grade B or above in A level maths would qualify for this additional bursary.
  • Driving up the quality of initial teacher training (ITT) providers. ITT providers rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted will get guaranteed allocations of places for two years at least, at their current level. Good providers will receive some allocations, but no places guaranteed, whilst satisfactory providers will receive no allocations. All providers will be able to supplement their central allocations by working with schools to train their School Direct trainees.

Providers rated as ‘requires improvement’ under the new Ofsted framework will not get any central government places and if they receive two consecutive ratings in this category, they will be closed down.

  • Incentivising the best trainee teachers to work in the most challenging schools. If a School Direct trainee spends the majority of their training in a challenging school, they will receive an extra 25% in bursary payments. For those starting this September, they will receive up to £5,000 extra. Challenging schools using the employment-based School Direct route will receive 10% extra - up to £2,000. This additional funding will allow them to offer higher salaries or better training.

Notes for editors

  1. Further details about ‘School Direct’, including the guide to the training programme is on the Department for Education’s website.

  2. The Government’s Initial Teaching Training strategy - ‘Training our next generation of outstanding teachers’ - published last year, sets out a series of reforms to recruit the very best into teaching and a greater role for schools in training. This includes:

  • encouraging more primary specialist teachers to be trained
  • offering graduates with first-class degrees in physics, chemistry, maths and modern foreign languages significantly better financial incentives to train as teachers - up to £20,000
  • requiring all trainees to have high standards of maths and English by requiring trainees to pass tougher literacy and numeracy tests before they start training
  • allowing and encouraging schools to lead their own high-quality ITT
  • giving schools a stronger influence over the content of ITT training, as well as the recruitment and selection of trainees

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