The lucky person that got to teach me mathematics at GCSE level was a bloke called Mr Platt. This was no easy mission, since I’m a born arithmophobe.
Whilst Mr Platt definitely predated Troops To Teachers he remains a convincing example of the benefits of the programme.
I didn’t always like him but I did respect him. He was short; about five feet, three inches tall and many of us 15 and 16 year olds towered over him; nevertheless, few people crossed him and I never saw anyone do it twice.
During one lesson it came out that he’d flown Buccaneer jets with the Royal Navy. Apparently, on one mission he’d managed to fly astray from his destination and used his trigonometry skills to work out where he was and got back on course. Looking back it seems like a tall story but it became part of his legend. Even if we’d had Pythagoras himself teaching us, I don’t think we could have been more convinced about just how cool maths could be.
Leading a class
There is certainly an element of logic behind Service-leavers training to become teachers. The role of teacher is about communication and organisation but it’s also about motivation and inspiration. A Military background is a great starting point for those aiming to lead a class of children or young people.
Troops To Teachers is an appealing idea. Bringing Military qualities in to the classroom will definitely encourage pupils to look at their education differently. The idea has also received backing from the Department for Education and (The Career Transition Partnership) CTP. Extra funding is available for graduates and there’s also a fast track option for Service-leavers without a degree. The programme is about to be expanded with new intakes of undergraduate trainees expected to start salaried employment-led teacher training from September 2015.
In as little as two years, the Troops To Teachers course for non-graduates can lead to qualified teacher status (QTS) and a degree qualification. Here’s how it works:
You’ll be earning a salary as an unqualified teacher while you train. (This could be 80% of the unqualified teacher pay ranges).
As you would expect, training is based around school experience (teaching practice). You’ll spend four days in every week during term time in a school with one day a week taken up by university based training to take your academic qualifications up to degree level.
The minimum eligibility requirements for the course are as follows:
To be eligible for the Troops to Teachers course as a non-graduate, you’ll need to be eligible for resettlement support, having served for four years or more. Graduate trainees must have served three or more years for funding or a bursary uplift (see below). You’ll also need to have either left the Armed Services within the last two years, or be leaving within the next two years.
Service-leavers with degrees will be able to enrol on postgraduate teacher training courses with additional bespoke training. You also could 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.
English language and maths GCSE (or equivalent) grade C, plus science if you want to teach in a primary school (key stage one and key stage two).
You’ll need to be 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.
A 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 or a minimum of 240 credits if your qualifications are not specific to your chosen specialist subject for teacher training but are related.
Qualifications can be either academic or professional, whilst your experiences can be either formal such as those gained as a trainer/instructor or accrued whilst applying the subject you are looking to teach.
Where to study
There are seven universities currently running the Troops To Teachers programme where you’ll find suitable non-graduate courses supported by a number of delivery schools:
• University of Brighton
• Bath Spa University
• Canterbury Christchurch University
• University of Huddersfield
• University of Reading
• University of Southampton
• University of Staffordshire
The Troops to Teachers programme is now accepting applications for courses starting in September 2015.