A Class Act – Why Troops To Teachers?

As a Service-leaver you’ll have already realised what your Services background has given you; gifts including skills and attitudes that have helped to forge you as a strong and rounded personality.

You may well have children yourself, in which case you’ll also realise the value of role-models. You’ll have seen how even remote figures like footballers, soap characters or pop stars can have an impact on how young people look at and respond to the world about them. Think, then, about what a deep and profound impact their teachers will also have.

A good teacher, in the modern sense, doesn’t necessarily need to be a dusty or bookish character; far from it. In fact a modern ‘classroom practitioner’ as the buzzword has it, should be able to relate, engage and communicate with young people on a variety of subjects in a language that they can understand. In short, it’s no less difficult to become a teacher than it was in years gone by but the underlying qualities required have shifted.

If you haven’t put two and two together yet, let me spell it out for you. The skills, attributes and qualities brought back to civvy street by Service-leavers are often seen as an ideal starting point to a career in the classroom. Of course, you’ll have trying and stressful days as you try to ‘drum in’ the focus of your lesson and believe me when I say that there will be many occasions when orders (from an ex-Serviceperson or not) will get you nowhere. Children and young people are not unlikely to say ‘no’.

Soft skills

This is where your slightly softer skills come into play. Even in the Forces, whilst you need respect to lead, you also need consensus. You need to effectively get everyone on-board if they’re to put their heart and soul into a project or mission of your design – and it’s the same in the classroom.

You will undoubtedly teach children with a variety of different aptitudes as well as likes and dislikes. Some pupils will enjoy maths, others English and the rest may have absolutely no interest in anything scholastic at all. It’ll be down to the teacher to draw out a better relationship to their schoolwork if they are to meet their educational potential.

As I’ve already alluded to, part of this process will take you beyond mere book learning. Just imagine being able to pass on a scaled version of the attitudes and qualities that the Military has given to you. The magic of giving such a gift to young people could be in your hands.

The Route

Non graduate Troops to Teachers courses taken over two years lead to qualified teacher status (QTS) and a degree qualification at the same time. The split is likely to be four days (per week) in school (undertaking ‘practice’) and a further day doing university standard training in your subject area (usually a curriculum subject such as maths, English, science or an arts based subject). Troops to Teachers also bring in a salary during training (this could be 80% of the unqualified teacher pay ranges). The starting point is simply being able to demonstrate, through your qualifications in the Armed Forces, that you have sufficient evidence of academic achievement and specialist subject knowledge to support your development.

There are minimum eligibility requirements:

  • English language and maths GCSE (or equivalent) grade C, plus science if you want to teach in primary schools.
  • Minimum of 120 subject-related Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) points if your current qualifications relate specifically to your chosen subject for teacher training.
  • Minimum of 240 credits if your qualifications are not specific to your chosen specialist subject for teacher training, but are related – in other words if you need to convert your subject to a curriculum subject.

According to the Department for Education (DfE) Troops to Teachers website, your qualifications can be either academic (for example, from the Open University), or professional qualifications like Command, Leadership and Management or Defence Train the Trainer courses. Experiences can be formal roles either as a trainer/instructor, or applying the subject you wish to teach.

The non-graduate Troops to Teachers programme is run by the University of Brighton as the lead in a consortium of higher education institutions comprising:

• Bath Spa University

• Canterbury Christchurch University

• University of Huddersfield

• University of Reading

• University of Southampton

• University of Staffordshire

Eligible Service-leavers

Non-graduates applying to the Troops to Teachers courses need to be eligible for resettlement support. Service-leavers with degrees will be able to enrol on postgraduate teacher training courses with additional bespoke training. Graduates could also receive a £2,000 bursary uplift in addition to the standard bursary or scholarship of up to £25,000 on a non-salaried School Direct or provider-led course. (Graduate trainees must have served three or more years for a funding or bursary uplift and will also need to have either left the Armed Services within the last two years, or be leaving within the next two years.)



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