In the last six months we have seen the debate over unqualified teachers intensify; particularly with the Department for Education recently revealing that the total number of teachers without Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) has totalled 17,100. In the same period, the UK’s only development programme designed to help existing school staff (unqualified teachers, HLTAs, and TAs) gain QTS while they continue to work has had considerable uptake, with the first participants due to complete in the coming months.
Hibernia College UK (HCUK) launched their Straight to Teaching programme in October 2013, in a bid to address the increasing teacher shortages in primary and secondary schools in England. The programme aims to develop existing staff in schools rather than turning to new recruits from outside of the education sector.
Since the launch of Straight to Teaching, HCUK has received over 100 applications for the bespoke programme, which is tailored to each participant depending on the amount of teaching experience they have and development they require. Participants and their schools also benefit from the fact that those completing the programme can continue working in their current school whilst receiving online and in-school mentoring to help them work towards a QTS assessment.
Monica Milne, Straight to Teaching programme Director, commented: “We are really pleased with the uptake we have received so far. Our hope is to help schools grow their own qualified teachers by developing the people they know and trust, rather than relying on recruiting new entrants into teaching, which as we have seen, is becoming increasingly difficult.”
With the amount of school staff in state schools alone reaching a record level of 1.3 million, there is a large pool of staff already in the education system that could gain QTS and become outstanding teachers, given the right level of mentoring and training.
Monica continues: “Our programme is a cost-effective and quick solution to ensuring that all personnel who teach have the right qualifications. At present there is no other route that takes as little as 24 weeks to complete and allows existing school staff to become qualified teachers while remaining in their current school working and earning. The School Direct scheme and traditional initial teacher training (ITT) programmes both focus on encouraging new entrants and graduates into the education sector. Equally, the Government’s Assessment Only route does not offer any support or development before assessment.”
The Straight to Teaching programme costs as little as £4,500 for the shortest programme (2 terms) including the cost of the Assessment Only fees- significantly less than most postgraduate ITT courses which are often cost £9,000 – and the fees can be shared between the trainee and the employing school. On average, a qualified teacher in England earns approximately £6,000-£7,000 a year more than their unqualified counterpart.
Start dates for Straight to Teaching run throughout the year, with the next programmes due to start in September. Schools and potential participants can register their interest in the programme and find more information via the HCUK website or by phoning 0800 088 6126.