• Teaching shortages worsen as ex military recruitment scheme dubbed ‘a flop’

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  • 18 Feb 2016
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Skills issues persist as applicant numbers for ‘Troops to Teachers’ drops off

As the National Audit Office (NAO) revealed candidates for teaching jobs were in short supply last week, a government initiative to hire ex military personnel was dubbed a “flop” by Labour.

The report from the NAO found that the government had missed its teacher recruitment targets for the past four years, with the lack of expertise being particularly noticeable for subjects like physics where 28 per cent of lessons are led by teachers with only an A Level qualification in the subject.

Government efforts to attract military veterans into teaching "to help with discipline" has proved difficult, with the ‘Troops to Teachers’ scheme, championed by then education secretary Michael Gove, failing to attract the numbers it had hoped.

In answer to a question to the House of Commons from Labour MP Jess Phillips, the minister for schools Nick Gibb revealed that the numbers of applicants to the scheme have dropped from 293 for the first cohort three years ago to 62 for the latest intake. And the number of people who achieved qualified teacher status from the first cohort was just 28, figures showed.

Gibb said: “Initially the Ministry of Defences’s resettlement contractor was responsible for recruiting trainees to the programme," adding that the University of Brighton was now responsible for the programme.

Commenting on the figures, Lucy Powell, shadow education secretary, said: “I very much want to see more veterans retraining to become teachers as they have a huge amount to offer and we desperately need more good teachers.

“What’s clear is that, as with the government’s general slow response to teacher shortages, this scheme isn’t working because the government isn’t focusing on teacher recruitment.”

In Scotland, oil and gas workers facing a contraction of the industry could retrain to become teachers and help stem the shortage, according to education secretary Angela Constance.

As many oil and gas employees face redundancy following a drop in oil prices, the MSP said anyone wanting to reskill would be given a share of the £12million Transition Training Fund to find a teaching job.

Constance announced the move to make the most of the “highly skilled oil and gas workforce” at the Aberdeen Learning Festival this week.

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  • So, people who hated school and chose to go into the military are to return to education as teachers. Meanwhile, people have the desire to teach are leaving the profession because education is no longer about teaching. 2 + 2 = 5 we see.