Apprenticeships must be properly paid – ATL chief

A senior education union leader has expressed fears that teaching apprenticeships will lead to learners being exploited, with low pay and poor conditions attached to training schemes.

The comments came from Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL teachers’ union last week. She was speaking ahead of the Union’s annual conference in Liverpool this week, and pulled no punches over her fears that schools would use cheaper apprentices to plug the gaps left by teachers not being replaced as part of cost cutting measures.

Ms Bousted said: “The danger is that we get an apprenticeship framework which is exploitative, which is low pay, where people aren’t getting decent training.


Funding cuts still an issue

“The problem about teaching apprenticeships is that if they’re not supernumerary at a time of really substantial real-terms funding cuts. The danger is that you get apprentices who are essentially doing a full teaching timetable at hugely reduced, cut down rates of pay.”

And it’s not just the rates of pay that Bousted queried. She was also concerned that with only one year of training the quality of qualified staff would be diluted.

“All those become more important at a time where there’s a funding crisis. The temptation will be for some school leaders to take on an apprentice – and they may not wish to do this – but the end result will be exploitation.”

The thing about Schools Direct at the moment is they’re supernumerary… they have a guarantee that they’re not going to be put in front of a class and required to teach.