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England new government programme

Ex-troops will become teachers

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The Troops to Teachers scheme will help "highly skilled" former military personnel become teachers within two years. Education Minister David Laws said ex-members of "our inspiring armed forces" could make great teachers.

According to the Department for Education (DfE), service leavers without degrees "will be the only people able to start training as a teacher without a degree and be qualified within two years".

The DfE stressed that the scheme would use a rigorous assessment, selection and recruitment process to identify those "with the potential to become outstanding teachers".

From January 2014 those selected for the scheme will earn a salary, training four days a week on-the-job in classrooms around England and one day at university.

After two years´ training they will count as ´newly qualified teachers´ and will have gained an honours degrees in education, specialising either as secondary school subject teachers or as primary teachers. A DfE spokesman stressed that top military specialists often have relevant experience, particularly in science and technology which could help redress the shortage of teachers in some subjects.

Many military personnel also have experience of "teaching, instructing, mentoring and coaching" which would count as credits towards the degree, says the government.

Teachers´ leaders offered a cautious welcome to the contribution that ex-forces personnel could make to teaching, but Chris Keates of the NASUWT warned of a difference between maintaining military discipline and ensuring good behaviour in classrooms.

Brian Lightman, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said one day a week at university was not enough for trainee teachers without degrees.

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