Troops to Teachers scheme misses target


TES, Hansard

A controversial scheme to turn former military personnel into teachers has trained just a sixth of its target number of veterans during the first two years, TES can reveal.

The Troops to Teachers initiative had 180 places for its first cohort, which completed training this month. But only 32 people have finished the course and become teachers.

The government-backed scheme had attracted controversy from the start because the plans to retrain former soldiers as teachers were sold as a way to bring a “military ethos” into struggling schools.

John Howson, director of TeachVac and an expert in teacher recruitment, said that he would be surprised if the scheme continued as a separate entity in the long term.

The figures have emerged after official reports criticised the organisation of the Troops to Teachers project.

The 2015 National College for Teaching and Leadership annual report says that there have been “challenges on recruitment” for the initiative.

A Department for Education spokesperson said Troops to Teachers was offering “talented service leavers a chance to inspire the next generation” by teaching leadership, teamwork and resilience.

The DfE has spent £4.3 million on the scheme so far, ‘the majority of which has been initial, one-off start-up costs.’ Only 144 teachers have been recruited across the three cohorts, and substantial drop-out rates suggest that significantly fewer will finish the training.

A Parliamentary Question revealing the high ratio of applicants to trainees suggests that many may not have been consider suitable candidates.

Other media coverage of the story: Daily Mail, The Independent, and Sec Ed.

See more: military in schools/colleges, Troops to Teachers, education, military ethos