On behalf of the Department for Education in England, Education Development Trust is delivering the Future Teaching Scholars programme, a new route into teaching for passionate maths and physics students to create a new generation of confident and highly skilled teachers.
In recent years, the number of graduates in England pursuing teaching has decreased significantly. Teacher recruitment targets have not been reached, leading to a continued shortage of secondary school teachers. This shortfall has been most acutely felt in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
We designed our Future Teaching Scholars programme with the objective not simply to produce more teachers, but to produce extremely talented teachers that are educated in their subject to a high level.
The first three years of the comprehensive 6-year programme run alongside a scholar’s undergraduate degree during which time they receive a grant of £15,000 to support their studies. This is followed by a year of initial teacher training (ITT) continuing with one-to-one assistance to find their first teaching role. Our scholars then receive a further two years of support as a newly qualified teacher.
The small central team at Education Development Trust in Reading, England works alongside a network of teaching schools across the country. Tasked with identifying and recruiting the scholars as well as delivering on all aspects of their journey, our methodology is to enlist students prior to the start of their undergraduate course, targeting gifted A-Level students with high predicted grades who will go on to study maths or physics at university.
Our scholars are trained by a national network of some of the best school-centred ITT providers, which we oversee to provide quality assurance, ensuring the programme is of consistently high quality for every single candidate. The outstanding teaching schools that act as Regional Training Centres (RTCs) for the programme have a proven track record in promoting and delivering maths and physics teaching and teacher training. This network of RTCs is geographically spread to ensure accessibility anywhere in England and local networks feature a mix of excellent schools serving different pupil populations.
Our first cohort began their initial teacher training (ITT) in autumn 2019, and secured posts as newly qualified teachers in the summer of 2020. We are already seeing the impact of some of the unique aspects of the programme, including bringing a greater number of more diverse, higher quality maths and physics teachers into the system, and have received excellent feedback from the schools in which our Scholars have been working and training.
From the progress that the scholars have made to date, the prolonged in-class experience and exposure to a wider school environment mean that their readiness for teaching is far beyond that of those from other routes. They have a better understanding of the wider responsibilities of a teacher and have an in-depth appreciation for teaching as a vocation.
This programme represents the most innovative new route into teaching, structured around bringing outstanding subject knowledge into the classrooms in a way no other programme does. These scholars already show evidence against the Teaching Standards which other trainees do not develop until later in their ITT years. 18-year-olds who are inspired to teach would go off to university and lose this commitment without the ongoing support and engagement of this programme.
Emily Giubertoni, Regional Training Director, Bishop Challoner Catholic College