Detailed guide: Postgraduate teaching apprenticeships: guidance for providers


The postgraduate teaching apprenticeship is a school-led initial teacher training (ITT) route that combines paid work with on- and off-the-job training, qualifications, and progression. It allows candidates to train to become qualified teachers. It will be available to trainees starting in September 2018.

The introduction of the postgraduate teaching apprenticeship does not affect current initial teacher training routes, such as School Direct.

This information is for ITT providers and schools who would like to offer postgraduate teaching apprenticeships.

This guidance is not a replacement for independent advice and providers should ensure they take appropriate legal and other advice before making any changes to their teacher training offer. The Department for Education and the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) accept no liability whatsoever for any expense, liability, loss, claim or proceedings arising from reliance placed on this guidance.

If you are interested in applying to start your teacher training and want to know more about how to apply for a place on the postgraduate teaching apprenticeship, please visit Get into Teaching.

What’s involved

As with School Direct (salaried) you will decide the overall structure of the apprenticeship, but the apprentice must spend 20% of their time in off-the-job training, designed to build up their skills, knowledge and competence in the classroom.

Having completed their training, the apprentice must demonstrate the knowledge, skills and behaviours contained within the Teachers’ standards.

Apprentices will work towards attaining qualified teacher status (QTS). They will need to meet the apprenticeships standard and will need to pass an end-point assessment as required for all apprenticeships. The end goal of becoming a qualified teacher will stay the same.

During the apprenticeship programme, the apprentice must successfully complete a programme of ITT, leading to the award of QTS.

After completion of a course of ITT, you will assess whether the trainee has met the standards required to be awarded QTS, and make this recommendation to NCTL in the usual way.

The apprentice will then go on to complete an end-point assessment in their fourth term. This will help to consolidate their learning. An assessor from an end-point assessment organisation (an accredited ITT provider who has been separate from the training process) conducts the assessment, helping to quality assure their training and development. The assessment has 2 components: a lesson observation and a professional discussion. Both will increase the apprentice’s readiness for the profession. Details of on-programme activity is outlined in the approved end-point assessment.

You will need to record apprentices in the same way as other ITT routes, via the data management system (DMS) or Higher Education Data and Analysis (HESA) and on the individual learner record data so that they can be issued with a teacher training number (TRN) if not already issued.

Who can offer postgraduate teaching apprenticeships

Accredited initial training providers and School Direct lead schools that have successfully applied to the register of apprenticeship training providers can offer the teaching apprenticeships.

If you also wish to provide the apprenticeship end-point assessment, you will also need to register on the register of end-point assessment organisations.

School Direct partnerships

Schools that want to employ a teaching apprentice will have to join an existing School Direct partnership, or form a new partnership.

Joining an existing School Direct partnership is recommended. This enables greater opportunities to share expertise, meet the employment expectation, and implement efficient management and administration of the programme. It also brings economies of scale in negotiations with teacher training providers.

Training providers must decide with the employing school and the lead school within the partnership whether they want to offer an apprenticeship place.

If you are in an existing School Direct partnership, or joining an existing School Direct partnership, the lead school will need to sign a revised grant funding agreement.

Lead schools will need to update their partnership agreements to include postgraduate teaching apprenticeship arrangements.

If you wish to register to become a lead school for a new partnership on our data management system you should contact for advice on the criteria and process.


You can find out more about setting up and managing postgraduate teaching apprenticeship programmes through the UCAS Teacher Training scheme on the UCAS website. To access this, you will need to sign in to the secure providers’ section of UCAS. If you have not yet registered, you can do so on the UCAS website.

If you wish to offer an apprenticeship in place of a School Direct (salaried) place, you should ensure that it is clear on your UCAS profile that a School Direct (salaried) place may switch to an apprenticeship place. To do this your provider profile should state:

  • changes to offered and applied places are voluntary, not imposed
  • the academic year in which School Direct (salaried) places may change to apprenticeship places (2018 to 2019 academic year)
  • how and when the provider will notify applicants of the change to places

Once you have decided whether you are offering an apprenticeship, please follow the instructions on the UCAS website. If you offer both School Direct (salaried) places and apprenticeship places, you will need to ensure both options are listed (you should ensure that any changes are done in accordance with the terms of use between UCAS and yourself). You should place an advert on recruit an apprentice, but all applications will continue to be channelled through UCAS Teacher Training.

Where you have already recruited an applicant to a School Direct (salaried) place, we recommend that you have their agreement before changing the place to an apprenticeship place. If you have already offered an applicant a School Direct (salaried) place, you should not rescind your offer, unless you have clearly and explicitly reserved the right to do so.

Allocation of places

NCTL is responsible for the allocation of ITT places in England that attract government funding and lead to the award of QTS.

We communicated the allocation of places for School Direct (tuition fee), School Direct (salaried) and provider-led courses due to start in 2018 to 2019 in September 2017.

We established 2 categories for allocations:

  • unlimited allocations: recruitment to subjects in this category is unrestricted
  • fixed allocations: recruitment to subjects in this category is limited by the number of places allocated

For the purposes of implementing the apprenticeship, you should treat School Direct (salaried) places as apprenticeship places.

You are able to offer and run both School Direct (salaried) and the apprenticeship simultaneously, and are able to choose how many School Direct (salaried) places you use as apprenticeship places for the 2018 to 2019 recruitment cycle. You should be mindful of the approach to unlimited and fixed allocations when considering your offer.

Schools that did not bid for School Direct (salaried) places in the allocations window held earlier this year can also recruit apprentices if they wish to do so and should contact NCTL for further advice. For further information, please read the information on School Direct partnerships.

You will be asked to inform NCTL about the number of apprenticeship places and School Direct (salaried) places which have been recruited to. We will contact you at a later date about this process.


The full costs of training and the trainee’s salary will need to be met by the School Direct partnership. Employers will be able to access funding as outlined below to help cover these costs.

There is a completion element for the apprenticeship which is 20% of either the total price of training or the funding band maximum, whichever is lower. This 20% is only released to the training provider when the apprentice completes their programme.

Funding to help meet the cost of an apprentice

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 cost of training and assessing the apprentice.

The Education and Skills Funding Agency has set funding rules which detail what the funding can be spent on. The guidance also explains how employers that do not pay the levy or who have insufficient funds in their digital account can access funding to support the training and assessment of an apprentice. The government will pay 90% of the costs of training and assessment for the apprenticeship (up to the £9,000 apprenticeship funding band maximum) and the school will pay the remaining 10% for schools who either:

  • do not pay the apprenticeship levy
  • pay the levy but have used all of the funding in their digital apprenticeship accounts

Find out more about apprenticeship funding.

Grant funding

We will provide grant funding to lead schools in partnerships employing postgraduate apprenticeship trainees. This grant funding is in addition to funding available from the Education and Skills Funding Agency and will be payable at the following rates:

There are no grants available for art, business studies, drama, physical education or other subjects not listed above.

If you are a new ITT provider or lead school for the apprenticeship in the academic year 2018 to 2019 and have not previously received a training bursary or grant funding, you will need to complete the relevant grant funding agreement. This is an agreement between the ITT provider or lead school, and NCTL. It stipulates how you should treat the grant funding.

Your accounting officer should complete the form and sign Annex A of the grant funding agreement and return the full document to We will need to receive and accept this document before any funding is released.

We will publish the grant funding agreement in due course.

Apprentice salaries

Postgraduate teacher apprentices working in maintained schools must be paid in accordance with at least point one on the unqualified teachers’ pay scale for the period of their training. Further information is available in C4.1 of the initial teacher training criteria and supporting advice.

Non-maintained schools, academies and free schools have the freedom and flexibility to adopt pay arrangements that best reflect their local circumstances. They will need to ensure that pay rates are clearly advertised to the apprentice beforehand.

Apprentices should be paid as full-time employees.

Apprentice entry criteria

The entry criteria for postgraduate teaching apprenticeship will be the same as for other teacher training routes.

Applicants must have:

  • the equivalent to a grade 4 in GCSE English and mathematics
  • a degree awarded by a UK higher education provider, or a recognised equivalent qualification
  • successfully completed the professional skills tests in numeracy and literacy

If trainees intend to train to teach pupils aged 3 to 11, they will also need a standard equivalent to a grade 4 GCSE a science subject. More information is available in the approved standard.


Postgraduate teaching apprenticeships

Source Article from
National College for Teaching and Leadership – Activity on GOV.UK

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