Teaching Apprenticeships


Teaching apprenticeships will offer suitably qualified candidates an 'on the job' employment route into teaching from September 2018. Across our region, two ITT providers will offer Teaching Apprenticeships from September 2018; The University of Chichester and Plymouth Marjon University.


What qualifications does someone need in order to do a Teaching Apprenticeship?


A teaching apprentice needs to be a graduate, holding an Honours degree or equivalent, plus have the equivalent of GCSE Grade C or above in English, Maths and Science.  If a potential teaching apprentice has a Foundation degree*, they will need to do a further year of study (via Open University or an appropriate conversion course) to 'upgrade' their Foundation degree to the equivalent of an Honours degree.

*Foundation degrees are not equivalent to Honours degrees. Foundation degees are at the same level of study, but are equivalent to 2/3 of an Honours degree. They are normally studied as a part-time process while working with an employer who sponsors that Foundation course, and they focus on a particular occupational domain. A Foundation degree can typically be extended to an Honours degree with an additional year or more of study.


How does the Teaching Apprenticeship work in practice?


If a school has a Teaching Apprenticeship vacancy, the post needs to be advertised, and suitably qualified candidates can apply. Successful teaching apprentice applicants need to be school employees, and so have to be offered an employment contract. Teaching apprenticeships take four terms to complete, so an apprentice starting a teaching apprenticeship in September 2018 would need a contract that lasted until at least 31st December 2019. The salary for the teaching apprentices is met by the school, and the training element of the apprenticeship is funded from the Apprenticeship Levy. Teaching apprentices are paid on the unqualified teacher pay-scale. A teaching apprentice typically spends one day per week at college, and the four remaining days per week teaching at school. This route into teaching is most similar to the Salaried School Direct trainee teacher scheme.  Recent government guidance on Teaching Apprenticeships can be found here: 


Postgraduate Teaching Apprenticeship Funding Manual 2018 to 2019




 School Business Manager Apprenticeship opportunities (from September 2018)




Q1. What is the Apprenticeship Levy?

All employers with a payroll of over £3 million per year have to pay 0.5% of their salary budget into an HMRC digital account every month, starting in May 2017. Academies are able to access the money in their Levy account to pay for the cost of training and assessing apprentices. The fund cannot be used to pay the salaries of apprentices.

Use it or lose it... The money that accumulates in the employer’s Levy account has to be spent within 24 months, otherwise it is retained by HMRC.


Q2. How much must Plymouth CAST pay towards the Levy?  From 1st May 2017, Plymouth CAST will have to pay approximately £13,000 each month into the Levy account.  Annually, this amounts to £156,000. The average cost of an apprenticeship is between £1500 and £2500, and the duration of an apprenticeship is between 12 and 24 months, depending on the level of qualification being studied.


Q3. Who can do an apprenticeship? Apprenticeships are open to all employees, irrespective of age or experience.  Effectively, the Apprenticeship Levy is like a a CPD budget. If a school takes on an apprentice aged 16 to 18, the school may qualify to receive an additional grant of £1000 from the Government as a 'thank-you'. 


Plymouth CAST should therefore aim to fund between 62 & 70 apprenticeships each year, to utilize all available funds.


“School leaders should bear in mind that the term ‘apprenticeship’ can cover professional development up to level 7 (Masters level) and this is not restricted to young staff. It will be key for academies and schools to identify eligible programmes* that they can deliver to use their funds.”

NAHT article, 28/10/16

*An ‘eligible programme’ must be recognised as an ’Apprenticeship  Standard’ and has to be delivered by an approved training provider.


Employing new Teaching Assistants...

If headteachers are recruiting new teaching assistants to their schools and candidates have relevant experience but lack a Level 3 Teaching and Learning qualification, schools should consider employing the assistant as an apprentice, so that they can work and study at the same time. The contract would need to be for 30 hours/week.


Q4: What apprenticeships are currently available to staff?    

Schools Guide to Apprenticeship Reforms 2017    

(Headings in green link to course examples from training providers)

Supporting Teaching & Learning in Schools Level 2 & 3

Early Years Educator Level 3

Science Technician Level 3

PE and Sports Leader Level 3

Creative and Digital Media Level 3

Business Administration Level 2

Business Administration Level 3

Business and Professional Administration Level 4

IT User Skills Level 3

IT User Skills Level 4

ILM Diploma in School Management Level 5

ILM Diploma in School Management Level 6

Business Innovation and Growth Level 5



Q5: Can apprentices start their training at any point in the year? What provision will schools need to make for apprentices?

Many apprenticeships provided by local colleges will have a September start.
Some apprenticeships run by colleges have several intakes per year. Other training providers deliver personalised training, enabling apprentices to start their apprenticeship at any time of year.

Every apprentice needs to be assessed in their workplace by an external assessor who represents the college or training provider delivering the training component of the apprenticeship. Schools need to cover the salary costs of apprentices.


Q6: I already work for CAST, and am aware that apprenticeships exist in a range of employment sectors.  Can I choose to do an apprenticeship in  an area of personal interest, even if it is not related to teaching, learning, school administration or management?

No. All apprenticeships require work based learning. Plymouth CAST can only provide                           apprenticeships to employees where relevant work experience can be provided.

Q7: What about the National Award for SEN Coordination? Is this qualification recognised as an apprenticeship standard? Can schools use the Levy to pay for apprenticeship training? 

Currently, the main provider for the SENCO qualification in the South West region is the South West Consortium, a partnership between Exeter University and the University of Plymouth. As yet, the SENCO qualification has not been recognised as an apprenticeship standard. This means that currently SENCO training cannot be paid for from apprenticeship Levy funds.

GOAL: Work with partners to ensure the National Award for SEN is recognised as an                 apprenticeship standard for a September 2018 SENCO cohort, so that this course can be funded centrally by the apprenticeship Levy.


Q8:   I am a headteacher and want middle and senior teachers in my school to be able to develop professionally and complete courses such as NPQML, NPQSL, and NPQH.  Can Apprenticeship Levy funds be used to pay for this training?

Not yet. Plymouth CAST is working with training providers so that professional standards that apply to school leaders could be nationally recognised as an apprenticeship standard, therefore enabling Trusts and schools to pay for this training from the apprenticeship Levy.               

GOAL: Work with partners to ensure that NPQML, NPQSL and NPQH are recongised as apprenticeship standards by April or September 2018, so that these courses be funded by the apprenticeship Levy.




Q9: I am a Headteacher, have a staff vacancy in my school, and want to take on an apprentice. What steps should I take?


You will need to advertise the vacancy and specify that the post is for an apprentice.  The vacancy needs to be 30 hours per week during term time. The salary should be made explicit in the advertisement. A fact sheet is available from with guidance on drawing up an employment contract for an apprentice. You may already have a relationship with a local college or training provider who can deliver the training component of the apprenticeship. Alternatively, you may be struggling to find a training provider who can deliver the    apprenticeship training you require. Either way, please contact Diana Taylor, Recruitment and Development Coordinator, at Diana has links with a range of apprenticeship training providers across the South West, and should be able to signpost you to an appropriate provider. A central register needs to be kept of all apprenticeship placements in order for funds to be ‘drawn down’ from the digital Levy account to pay training providers.


Links to training providers & further information on apprenticeships


South Devon College

Cornwall College

GP Strategies

Yeovil College

Bournemouth & Poole College

National Schools Training

Skills Group

Achievement Training


Truro and Penwith College

Teaching Apprenticeship standards in development

Brockenhurst College