Gove’s Troops To Teachers ‘A Costly Flop’

04/03/2014

Morning Star


Michael Gove’s scheme to train ex-squaddies as teachers was labelled an “expensive flop” yesterday after it was revealed the Tory Education Secretary mustered just 132 recruits.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal 322 former soldiers applied for teacher training between March 2011 and April 2013

Despite just 132 being accepted, Mr Gove has now thrown £10 million in public funds at a new two-year Troops to Teachers scheme.

If the latest scheme enlists the same low numbers, the maximum cost of getting each new recruit ready for the classroom could be a stunning £75,000.

A Department for Education spokeswoman insisted yesterday that the £10 million is the maximum available for the programme over the next two years.

But National Union of Teachers North England regional secretary Mike McDonald is among campaigners to have raised concerns over Mr Gove’s latest “vanity project.”

He told the Star: “He’s very austere when it comes to things like teachers’ pay, pensions and conditions but when it comes to his pet projects such as this, free schools and academies it seems money is no object.

“It’s just one waste after another.

“I’m not against the training of troops to be teachers but to spend this amount of money on it and for it to yield such a poor result is quite appalling, particularly with all the cuts affecting public services.”

And Mr McDonald said schools across England were crying out for extra cash.

“When you think in terms of teacher shortages that we have in some parts of the country, this doesn’t seem to be doing very much to fill that gap,” he said.

“It’s an extremely expensive flop.

“I’d rather see class sizes come down as I think most teachers and parents would.”

The DfE spokeswoman said: “Troops to Teachers will make it easier for those who have contributed so much to our country to continue their brilliant work – this time in the classroom.”

The recruitment figures were revealed by the Department for Education in response to a freedom of information request made by campaigner Simon Gosden.