Retrain as a teacher with Troops to Teachers – and reap the rewards

As an Armed Services leaver, you can bring your invaluable and unique skills and experiences to inspire in the classroom by training to teach. It’s hard work but the rewards and benefits make it one of the most popular retraining choices.  

By Lorraine Harrison

Introduced in 2012, the Troops to Teachers programme offers non-graduate Service-leavers who have left in the last five years the opportunity to train to become outstanding teachers. The programme operates across England matching trainees with a delivery school in their home location for two years of employment-based training supported by dedicated study days and intensive study periods. It integrates initial teacher training with continuing professional development and leads to an honours degree from the University of Brighton with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS).

Earn a salary while you train

Troops to Teachers trainees are employed by the delivery school as an unqualified teacher at a minimum of 80% of the starting salary for unqualified teachers (currently £12,908.80 with additional allowances for London and London fringes). There are no course fees associated with the programme which makes it a very attractive proposition compared to other routes into teaching.

For two years trainees spend Monday through to Thursday undertaking a range of employment-based activities in school. On ‘Study Fridays’ they engage in degree-level scheduled learning activities from home and also participate in periodic intensive residential study periods. Throughout the programme trainees are professionally supported by school-based mentors and university-based course leaders and tutors.

Wide range of subject areas

The programme offers a wide range of routes depending on the age phase you wish to teach. Primary education studies will train you to teach those aged 5-11 and secondary those aged 11 to 16. At secondary level there are currently 14 specialist subjects on the programme.

A rewarding career

Teaching offers a competitive starting salary with excellent opportunities for pay rises linked to performance rather than length of service. The average salary for a qualified teacher is now over £34,000. Teaching offers a great work-life balance with opportunities to work flexibly, a generous holiday allowance of up to 13 weeks and the second largest public sector pension scheme in the country.

Enviable job security is another benefit that comes with teaching. On average nine out of ten newly qualified teachers are employed within six months of completing their training and three quarters of them are still in the profession five years later.

But perhaps more importantly the job satisfaction that comes with teaching is hard to beat. You’ll get the chance to inspire young people on a daily basis and use your skills to help them fulfil their potential. Plus you can indulge your hobbies and interests as part of your work by getting involved in after-school clubs, trips or sport.


The programme is led by the University of Brighton but operates across the whole of England. University support is provided by a consortium of higher education institutions; the employment-based training element is provided by a delivery school in the trainee’s home location with the delivery school essentially becoming the trainee’s employer.


Entry requirements

The Troops to Teachers non-graduate programme is open to Service-leavers who are eligible for resettlement support which usually means at least four years’ service. Applications can be accepted within five years of the applicant’s discharge date. The programme is open to those who do not hold a degree but applicants will need to demonstrate the equivalent of a minimum of one year full-time study in higher education.

GCSEs at grade C or above in English language and mathematics are compulsory; primary applicants also require science. Equivalency tests are possible for those who do not meet this requirement. As with all Initial Teacher Training courses applicants must also pass the Professional Skills Tests in numeracy and literacy before commencing the course.

Recent work experience with children in a school setting, or in teaching, instructing or mentoring during Military service would be an advantage in being accepted on the programme. Full entry requirements can be found on the University of Brighton website.

Graduation success for the first cohort of trainees

The first University of Brighton cohort of Troops to Teachers graduates received their awards during winter graduation ceremonies at the Brighton Dome on 12 February 2016.

Among them were, (pictured)left to right: Euan Andres, Secondary Mathematics Education BA (Hons); Sonia Perez Baeza, Secondary Physical Education BA (Hons); and Michele Lancaster, Primary Education Studies (5-11 years) BA (Hons).

Each said they now have full-time teaching jobs and all agreed, the switch from the Armed Forces to teaching through the University of Brighton programme was “very worthwhile”.


Lorraine Harrison is the Troops to Teachers Programme Coordinator and Contract Manager at the University of Brighton.

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