Troops to Teachers scheme under fire


A flagship scheme to bring ex-servicemen and women to join the teaching profession has seen 28 veterans qualify as teachers since it started two and a half years ago.

The £4.3 million Troops to Teachers scheme, inspired by a similar drive in the USA, promised to boost teaching by fast-tracking veterans into the profession.

Former Education Secretary, Michael Gove, announced the scheme in 2013 that allowed ex-service members with and without degrees to train as teachers within two years.

But figures obtained by Labour show that out of just 41 people started the programme in the first year, only 28 have achieved qualified teacher status.

Schools minister, Nick Gibb, said a total of 551 applications had been received for the scheme, which began training people in 2014.

This led to 41 individuals starting the programme in its first year. Since then 28 of the 29 who completed the programme had achieved qualified teacher status (QTS), he said.

Shadow education secretary Lucy Powell said the low numbers showed the government had failed to get a grip on the teacher shortage crisis.

A Department for Education spokesman said: "These figures are completely misleading and an unfair portrayal of a scheme that is giving talented service leavers a chance to inspire young people and use their unique experience to teach the skills that will help them fulfil their potential.

"The 28 graduates referred to are the first trainees to be recruited and completed their two-year course at the end of December.

"The impact of these recruits in the classroom has been overwhelmingly positive with headteachers praising the influence they’ve had on pupil’s attainment."

The programme is part of the DfE's commitment to the cross-government Military Covenant, which aims to help support service leavers get back into civilian life. 

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