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Find out about the apprenticeship levy on schools

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In October 2017, the Department for Education announced a new teaching apprenticeship for graduates to gain QTS that can be funded by schools using their apprenticeship levy funds. The postgraduate teaching apprenticeship is a school-led initial teacher training (ITT) route, which will be available to trainees starting in September 2018.

What's involved?

The general structure of the training programme is the same as the school direct route, with the exception that the apprentice must spend 20 per cent of their time in off-the-job training. While schools will employ apprentices, only accredited ITT providers on the register of approved apprenticeship training providers can deliver the off-the-job training for the teaching apprenticeship.

During the apprenticeship programme, the apprentice must successfully complete a programme of ITT, leading to the award of QTS that can be funded using apprenticeship levy funds. After completion of a course of ITT, schools will assess whether the trainee has met the standards required to be awarded QTS and make this recommendation to NCTL in the usual way.

In addition, apprentices will have to meet the apprenticeship standard and pass an end-point assessment in their fourth term after they have achieved QTS. An assessor from an end-point assessment organisation (an accredited ITT provider who is separate from the training process) conducts the assessment.

The apprenticeship will typically be 12 months in duration (12 months is the minimum length).

Funding the training and assessment element

The vast majority of schools are paying 0.5 per cent of payroll costs as an apprenticeship levy that is held in a separate account by their local authority if they are a maintained school, or by the academy or MAT. The new postgraduate teaching apprenticeship route gives schools the opportunity to spend their apprenticeship levy funds to develop new or existing staff into qualified teachers.

Employers that pay into the apprenticeship levy will be able to use up to £9,000 of funding from their apprenticeship service account to cover the full cost of training and endpoint assessment for any apprentice following this apprenticeship route.

Even those schools that do not pay into the apprenticeship levy, or have exhausted their own funds, can apply to HMRC for funding to cover 90 per cent of the costs of training and assessment for a teaching apprenticeship (up to the £9,000 apprenticeship funding band maximum), and the school will pay the remaining 10 per cent for schools

Accessing the funds

A digital apprenticeship service account should have been set up for every employer. Through this portal, schools should be able to access their levy funds. Schools that are their own employers, such as standalone academies or voluntary aided schools, should have their own account where they can access the funds directly. Schools that are local authority maintained or are part of a multi-academy trust will need to speak with their local authorities or trusts to arrange access and use of their levy funds. 

Offering the teaching apprenticeship

All schools can potentially apply to access a teaching apprenticeship from one of the accredited providers. Schools interested in delivering the teaching apprenticeship may currently lead or be a member of a School Direct partnership or Teaching School Alliance.

Schools may also offer the apprenticeship while not being part of a School Direct partnership, but they must be Ofsted rated one or two to do so. Schools that are not Ofsted grade one (outstanding) or grade two (good) for overall effectiveness must join a School Direct partnership to offer the apprenticeship.

Apprentice salaries

Postgraduate teacher apprentices working in maintained schools must be paid on the unqualified teachers' pay scale for the period of their training.

Non-maintained schools, academies and free schools can adopt pay arrangements that best reflect their local circumstances. However, pay rates should be clearly advertised to the apprentice beforehand.

Apprentices should be paid as full-time employees.

Additional information

First published 08 February 2018