Everything your school needs to know about PGTAs

With teacher numbers continuing to decline, building teaching capacity in schools remains a key challenge for headteachers and education leaders alike.

The latest School Workforce Census showed a steady slide in the number of teachers still in the profession five years after they qualified. Of those achieving newly-qualified teacher (NQT) status in 2014, 67.4% were still working as teachers in 2020, meaning almost a third of NQTs had left the sector in that period.

The figures make clear that schools and academies need to take a closer look at how they are training and developing teachers, and the in-school experiences they provide, to ensure more NQTs stay in teaching for the long term.

This is where newer qualifications and training might have the edge over PGCE, which is the traditional route into teaching. 

Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeships (PGTAs) allow school and academy leaders to attract and recruit talented graduates, mould their own staff and retain quality teachers at the end of the programme.

They also provide aspiring teachers with a fully funded – and salaried – route to qualified teacher status (QTS), combined with an immersive in-school experience to get them used to the demands of working in a live educational setting.

Here, we take a closer look at PGTAs and how your school can benefit from this new form of teacher training and development.

What is a PGTA?

The PGTA is a fully-funded teacher training programme that provides university graduates with an alternative route to Qualified Teacher Status without having to study for a PGCE. 

It provides schools and academies with a cost-effective way to build their teaching capacity, ‘grow their own’ teachers and acclimatise NQTs to working life in their school or college environment.

The programme can be tailored to the school’s needs.

It aims to improve outcomes for pupils of all ages by creating dedicated, passionate, well-rounded teachers who have all the skills, knowledge and expertise to inspire the children they teach and help them reach their full potential. It provides an excellent alternative to PGCE for schools looking to recruit, develop and retain the best teaching talent.

Many schools can utilise their Apprenticeship Levy allocation to fund a PGTA and enable unqualified teachers to achieve QTS within 12-15 months.   

The apprentice is employed, in a salaried role, within the school during their apprenticeship, so they get real-life, hands-on experience while they train. 

The PGTA programme is also fee-free for the graduate trainee, meaning they can ‘earn while they learn’ without taking on the additional debt associated with studying for a PGCE.   

It’s a win-win for all concerned.

The apprentice benefits from working in a live school environment while being trained, while the school can mentor and nurture the trainee to help them understand its mission, values, culture and working practices.

What are the benefits of PGTAs to schools?

PGTAs offer a host of benefits to schools and academies, including:

  • The ability to ‘grow their own’ talent and increase their teaching capacity with high-quality, classroom-ready NQTs.
  • ‘Trialling’ and nurturing graduates to ensure they have the attributes and potential for long-term, permanent employment within the school.
  • Schools can use their Apprenticeship Levy and other grant funding to pay for the training and cover all or part of the trainee salaries, making it an extremely cost-effective way to recruit new staff.
  • NQTs, once qualified, are already embedded in the workplace and culture of the school or college, eliminating the need for lengthy induction or probation periods.
  • There’s no obligation to employ the graduate apprentice at the end of their PGTA; it’s like a 12-15 month job interview. However, if the apprentice does well, the school has a ready-made NQT who’s already embedded in its way of working.  
  • Schools can also use PTGAs to maximise the full potential of their existing workforce by upskilling and harnessing the abilities of teaching and learning support staff.

What funding is available for PGTAs?

Schools can use their Apprenticeship Levy allocation to fund PGTAs, fill critical skill gaps in their  business and invest in staff learning and development to boost employee morale, help recruitment and improve staff retention.

Initial teacher training costs of up to £9,000 per trainee can be covered by the Apprenticeship Levy, meaning the apprentice and the employer have nothing to pay. Funding can be used towards training, not wages, and must be committed within 24 months.

Eligible schools can also claim grant funding of up to £15,000 per trainee, for certain priority subjects, to cover their salaries and employment costs.

The grant amount will depend on the course subject and the location of the school the apprentice is employed in. Subjects that qualify include maths, physics, chemistry and computing. 

What are the benefits to trainees?

Unlike studying for a PGCE, a PGTA is fee-free. It means trainees can earn a salary, based on the unqualified teacher pay scale, while they learn.

Trainees are embedded within the school and receive support and nurturing from an in-school mentor and practical learning from expert tutors to give them the best chance of achieving QTS. They can observe the best professional practice, equipping them with the confidence and skills to work in a wide range of educational settings, including the more challenging circumstances and experiences. PGTA also offers:

  • A fresh and diverse way of training to become a teacher
  • Immersive, real-world classroom experience
  • The opportunity to observe and learn from ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ teachers
  • Practising teaching skills with groups of students
  • Support from an experienced school mentor
  • Being treated as a member of the school staff
  • Increased potential for permanent employment after completing the PGTA

How Orange Moon Education can help

Orange Moon Education is a consortium of leading education specialists and training providers with a shared goal of improving outcomes for children and young people.

We offer a high-quality, fully funded and salaried PGTA programme, leading to QTS. It’s currently available to schools in the Midlands, South Yorkshire and Bristol, to help local schools, colleges and academies build their teaching capacity and fill their vacancies with ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ NQTs.

For more information, book a free, no-obligation remote or face to face meeting with us to discuss your requirements.