Ex-troops without degrees to train as teachers


Lance Bolton: 'Teaching is a very rewarding career - as was the forces - so for me it was a natural step'

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Former armed forces personnel without degrees will be fast-tracked into teaching in England under a new government programme.

The Troops to Teachers scheme will help "highly skilled" former military personnel become teachers within two years.

Education Minister David Laws said ex-members of "our inspiring armed forces" could make great teachers.

Teaching unions doubted whether two years' training would be enough.

According to the Department for Education (DfE), service leavers without degrees "will be the only people able to start training as a teacher without a degree and be qualified within two years".

'Outstanding' potential

The DfE stressed that the scheme would use a rigorous assessment, selection and recruitment process to identify those "with the potential to become outstanding teachers".

From January 2014 those selected for the scheme will earn a salary, training four days a week on-the-job in classrooms around England and one day at university.

After two years' training they will count as 'newly qualified teachers' and will have gained an honours degrees in education, specialising either as secondary school subject teachers or as primary teachers.

Start Quote

"We know that our highly-skilled servicemen and women can inspire young people and help raise educational attainment." ”

End Quote David Laws Education Minister

A DfE spokesman stressed that top military specialists often have relevant experience, particularly in science and technology which could help redress the shortage of teachers in some subjects.

Many military personnel also have experience of "teaching, instructing, mentoring and coaching" which would count as credits towards the degree, says the government.

The government also wants to attract former service staff who have degrees into teaching, and is offering a range of training options to them under the scheme.

Mr Laws said military values such as leadership, discipline, motivation, and teamwork would benefit children.

"We want to capture the ethos and talents of those leaving the armed forces and bring this experience into teaching. We know that our highly-skilled servicemen and women can inspire young people and help raise educational attainment."

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said both veterans and their young pupils would gain from the scheme.

"A career in the armed forces provides skills and experience you cannot gain anywhere else and I would encourage anyone leaving the services to take the opportunity to pass on their invaluable knowledge".

'Learning ethos'

Teachers' leaders offered a cautious welcome to the contribution that ex-forces personnel could make to teaching, but Chris Keates of the NASUWT warned of a difference between maintaining military discipline and ensuring good behaviour in classrooms.

"To say you can simply transfer the skills from one to the other is an oversimplification of the complexities of dealing with pupil behaviour in schools," she said.

Brian Lightman, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said one day a week at university was not enough for trainee teachers without degrees.

Head teacher Mike Tull: "Discipline within a military context is fundamentally different to within a school or a classroom context"

"There is no doubt that some ex-military personnel have the potential to make excellent teachers, but they need the right preparation and support.

"From what we've seen so far, this programme lacks both... a military ethos belongs in the military. Schools need a learning ethos."

Christine Blower, of the National Union of Teachers, said: "Teaching is a wonderful profession and we welcome applicants from all walks of life who feel they can make the commitment to teach, including ex-military personnel.

"However, teaching involves a complex mix of knowledge, skills and understanding of child development and trainees need both a high level of education themselves and thorough teacher training before they can take on the demands of educating our young people.

Russell Hobby, of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "It seems predicated on the notion that military service automatically makes someone a good teacher, whereas the reality is, some will make brilliant teachers and some won't."

Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said Labour supported re-training troops as teachers but said the government had been too slow to do it.

"It has taken three years for Michael Gove just to launch this scheme, and during that time only a handful of volunteers have come forward".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1379.

    Is this central planning run amok?
    Despite their valiant service to our country, why should they be fast-tracked?

    Why should we be forced to suffer this inept monopoly, dumbing down our kids? Private contractors build the schools. Private money pays for their construction, and all the teachers' wages. Why do we need an utterly incompetent, and expensive, Department of Education again?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1378.

    Nobody is being anti-forces. If an ex soldier wants to be a teacher fine - pay for them to get a degree in a teachable subject and go through the same training as those who have wanted to be teachers since leaving school and who have gone through years of training to get there. Plus not all soldiers are suitable to be teachers. Fact.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1377.

    Free schools employ soldiers

    NON free schools employ _______?

    Roll on 2015

  • rate this

    Comment number 1376.


    Rather than dismissing the idea out of hand you should be asking why the kids arn't listening to the teachers they have.

    I believe the answer is no respect.

    Now ask yourself why the kids have little respect for their teachers.

    I believe the answer is some teachers are not up to the job.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1375.

    How to solve & save £billions£ according to logic-deepest-Whitehall!
    Appoint a "tsar",what problem?,simple!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1374.

    In theory spending 4 or more years in college should give the teacher time to grow up, and mature as most of their time is not spent in classes. They may find in the end that they don't have the ability to teach but will stay in it for the Pension.

    The troops are mature & may have a better idea how to adjust teaching to a pupil as they have done it on the job.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1373.

    Soldiers would have a harder time on the front line in schools and probably prefer to be back in the army. Teaching is the toughest job on earth when it comes to mental stress, hard grind, dealing with problems that never go away and in a classroom of 32+ unruly kids - you are alone. Not with your comrades and getting support. You are alone - a pitiful salary and no Govt respect. Madness.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1372.

    Typo correction*

    A blast (no pun intended ;) from the Tory past* revived:

    'Tory teaching offer to ex-troops'*

    ''Personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan would also be offered free university tuition under the proposals. ''

    'We're all in it together...' except the ex-military and City bankers!

    *Sunday, 28 September 2008 00:09 UK


  • rate this

    Comment number 1371.

    This is completely wrong. I trained for years to become a teacher. If soldiers can be fast tracked like this well then, why not just ANYBODY AT ALL ? LOL. This is a joke. Its unfair and makes a mockery of whats left of the UK education system. OPPOSE it Unions !

  • rate this

    Comment number 1370.

    Even though large tracts of Education have fallen into the grip of Gove, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end.We shall fight in the ICT suits, we shall fight in the science lab, we shall defend our school, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight in the long jump pit, we shall fight on the playgrounds, we shall fight in the PE fields and in the corridors, we shall never surrender,

  • rate this

    Comment number 1369.

    1351. AuntieLeft "Loyalty to the Queen" How on earth is a mindset trained in following like sheep, and obeying uncritically the collective 'will' internalised by others, a factor in teaching children critical awareness and how to think and decide for themselves in a plural society?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1368.

    My son, just turned 21 within the last week and has been promoted to Corporal within the same week, he is in the British Army. He would love to teach & this is his ideal job when he finally leaves the Army, though he is to deploy to Afghan later this year. He has worked so very hard to achieve what he has achieved at such a young age & I would be proud of him to become a teacher & so should you!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1367.

    Makes you wonder why Mikey wasted tax payers' money on a discipline Tsar - still, at least that confirms the "thinking" behind this.
    Flawed and simplistic.

  • Comment number 1366.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1365.

    There are many people - not only ex-soldiers - who would make excellent teachers.

    There is much more to teaching well than the pieces of paper our teachers "hang their hats on".

    It seems to me they want a closed shop.

    I wonder why? duh!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1364.

    28 October 2002 - The Ministry of Defence promised a review of training procedures in the armed forces, focusing on whether training is too harsh, while cracking down on bullying and sexual harassment.

  • Comment number 1363.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1362.

    Make them Oxbridge lecturers aswell?

    Nah, use them as recruiting sargents for the next supply of cannon fodder.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1361.

    1354 blowesyboy
    "You can have all the degrees going,it does not make you a good teacher,I know,I worked with some"
    But why,does this old misdirection always get trotted out?
    We get ALL get it,please stop!
    Do the people who always state this understand,you can,and we want both,ie top degrees & teachers with passion for their specialised subject that can indeed teach
    I'm not holding my breath

  • rate this

    Comment number 1360.

    A blast (no pun inteneded ;) from the Tory past revived:

    '' Ex-servicemen and women could get free teacher training under a Conservative government, the shadow schools secretary will announce.

    'Michael Gove, who supported similar proposals in February, will tell the Tory party conference that classroom discipline could benefit.''

    BBC on-line News dated Sunday, 28 September 2008 00:09 UK


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