11 Feb 2015
Michael Gove launched so many initiatives that you may have overlooked or forgotten about Troops to Teachers, a £1.9million fund for "improving the military ethos in schools", which contributed £2,000 bursaries to ex-military personnel.
During the past year the fund paid for 93 (yes, ninety three) troops to become teachers. Presumably, Gove thought Troops to Teachers was a good way of providing employment for ex-military personnel, but it's not been much use in that regard either by the look of it.
Not a resounding success, so: let's expand it! That's what Nicky Morgan has announced today, describing these troops as "talented service leavers".
How are they talented? These are specifically troops without degrees, so perhaps the problem has been that no-one wants to employ them, after all there are plenty of other degree-free people out there who also have the equivalent to a grade C GCSE in English and mathematics.
As we reported in January, only 34% of schools find it easy to recruit NQTs, and 80% of those struggling to recruit, put it down to poor quality of applicants. The main failings of NQTs in general are classroom management (73% of respondents), subject knowledge (58%) and understanding of pedagogy and child development (56%). We might hope that troops are strong on the first, assume that they are weak on the second and would hopefully learn about the third during the two year in-school training.
The DfE don't mention how much cash they are putting into this "expansion", but presumably it's the unspent millions from Gove's initial pot. We shouldn't complain about cash to incentivise new entrants to the profession, but those without degrees? Some of the cash will need to be spent on persuading schools that the talents these troops have will be of value in teaching children.
I'm not sure how big a troop is, but I'm pretty sure one of 93, whose members are spread across the country would not have much of an impact on anything, so maybe the next education secretary in May, could think again about this policy.
PS This is the second relaunch of poorly performing policy this week: on Monday, Morgan released details of phase 2 of the Priority School Building Programme. As we reported in January, work had begun on only 63 of the 261 phase 1 “priority” rebuilds promised with the first £18 billion. Again - is phase 2 just another way of spending the unused phase 1 funding?
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