Call for two year “higher-level apprenticeships” for new teachers

The TES is reporting suggestions that two-year “higher-level apprenticeships” should be introduced for teachers to counter “anti-intellectualism” and stop new staff from dropping out.

…Most new entrants to the profession should spend two years as apprentice teachers after completing initial education degrees or postgraduate certification in education courses, according to Dr Janet Orchard, of the University of Bristol, and Professor Christopher Winch, of King’s College London.

They argue the change would tackle what they describe as “anti-intellectualism” behind the government’s push to shift teacher training out of universities and into schools. The academics also believe the apprenticeships would cut the numbers leaving teaching early.

“If new teachers do not feel adequately supported in their first teaching posts they are likely to become disillusioned very quickly,” they write in their report “What training do teachers need?”. 

“Our proposal for a higher grade apprenticeship following the award of QTS provides a realistic and appropriate framework for supporting new teachers at the start of their careers and staunching the flow of talented young people from the profession.”

Around a quarter of teachers have left the profession four years after qualifying, according to government figures. The reseachers say part of the problem is the current 36-week PGCE course – which is not enough on its own to prepare candidates for the “difficult, demanding but ultimately rewarding” work of teaching.

The apprenticeships they suggest would see teachers work in the classroom with colleagues but also have one day a week for academic study at their university. Completing this apprenticeship would result in trainees gaining a Masters level qualification…

More at: New teaching apprenticeships would counter ‘anti-intellectualism’ and stop trainees from dropping out, report claims


The proposals are made in a pamphlet called “What training do teachers need” which is part of the Impact series, published by the Philosophy of Education Society on the Wiley Online Library. Read it in full:

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What do you think of the idea of newly qualified teachers participating in a two year apprenticeship that combines classroom work with one day a week of academic study at university?

It’s not clear what impact it would have of pay or funding, but as a principle does it have legs? 

Please give us your reactions in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Teaching.


  1. The_Data_Adonis

    SchoolsImprove next will be apprentice nurses and apprentice police officers recycling the levy into the training budget

  2. Teaching is an intellectual activity as well as a practical one.  Teachers in training need both practice and exposure to pedagogical theory.  This is best done in collaboration with universities during initial training.  But the Gov’t created shambles of allocating teacher training places threatens university-based training which is still the most popular route into teaching.
    Newly-qualified teachers do need support – and a two year period would hopefully ensure this.  But not sure about the attendance at uni – rather difficult if you’re teaching in a remote area and the nearest uni doing teacher training is hundreds of miles away.  However, it could be delivered on-line but schools would have to be willing to allow their NQTs to have a lighter teaching load in their second year than is expected now.  Given the squeeze on school budgets, schools might be reluctant to do so.

  3. JeremyREteacher MaryMyatt But teaching is an intellectual skills as well as a practical one.

  4. BridgetBurke2

    MaryMyatt SchoolsImprove ah! Did you see the news primary grant backU0001f600 that will make a huge difference to us. U0001f600

  5. BridgetBurke2

    MaryMyatt Christmas Fair today, which is also hubby does all the little DIY jobs that need doing, so important day

  6. KirstyMarieNZ

    IanAxtell in NZ you work 1st yr at .7 (paid FT though) & 2nd yr at .8. Have a mentor and have to prove ability before becoming registered

  7. IanAxtell

    KirstyMarieNZ thanks for the reply. Teacher training is in a state of flux here. Government want universities out of the process . . .

  8. IanAxtell

    KirstyMarieNZ . . . but best systems appear to be when schools and universities work in genuine partnerships. Universities offer . . .

  9. IanAxtell

    KirstyMarieNZ . . universities offer different type of support to beginning teachers than schools but both are crucial. What do you think?

  10. KirstyMarieNZ

    IanAxtell I would agree that Uni & school working together best. Uni know current research etc & school have hands on experience

Let us know what you think...