Apprenticeships for the Schools Workforce

As well as supporting your students to take advantage of all the apprenticeship opportunities available, have you considered how apprenticeships can support the staff training and development undertaken in your own school?

Funding changes

In April 2017, the way the government funds apprenticeships changed. Employers with a paybill of over £3m per year, including schools, now pay an apprenticeship levy. Many schools who are maintained by local authorities and academy trusts also contribute to the levy as part of their employer’s overall paybill. If your school pays the levy, the money can be claimed back to invest in apprenticeship training for your staff.

The funding changes also mean that schools who do not pay the levy, or who run out of levy funds, can share the cost of apprenticeship training with government. This is called ‘co-investment’. This means that schools will only need to pay 10% towards the cost of apprenticeship training and assessment, and government will pay 90%, up to a cap.

Who can be an apprentice?

Apprenticeships are not restricted to young people or new recruits. Anyone can become an apprentice at any age and benefit from government funding to support their apprenticeship training. Apprenticeships can be for staff already employed in your school or not, plus they can be either full or part time.

The key requirements are that the apprentice must be employed and paid at least the relevant National Minimum Wage. Their training must last at least 12 months, and 20% of their time must be spent in training or development away from the day job (i.e. average of one day per week).

Which apprenticeships are available that are relevant to the education sector?

Schools employ staff in a wide range of roles, many of which may be suitable for using apprenticeship training. There are a wide range of apprenticeships, either available or in development, that are relevant to school staff. These include:

School Business Manager | Teacher | Teaching Assistant | Chartered Manager Business Administrator | Senior Chef Production Cooking | Facilities Management Supervisor IT Support | Digital and Technology Solutions Professional | Accounting Laboratory Technician | Nurse | Assistant Early Years Practitioner

An up to date list of which apprenticeships are currently available to use can be found on the Amazing Apprenticeships website:

Schools checklist

  • Consider what apprenticeship opportunities might be suitable for your school and how they can provide the training and skills needed.
  • Check whether your school is paying the levy, and/or whether you will pay for the training through co-investment. If your school is part of a larger employer group (e.g. local authority or multiacademy trust) contact them to agree how you will access the relevant funds
  • Check whether your school is in scope of the public sector apprenticeship target, and how workforce plans are taking this into account.
  • Follow the steps set out in the following link to hire an apprentice and appoint a training provider:

Further information

The Schools’ guide to apprenticeship reforms (see link below) has been created to help schools understand apprenticeships in more detail. This includes how the apprenticeship levy and public sector target work and how to take on an apprentice. The guidance is for school leaders and governing bodies in all schools in England, and will be of use to local authorities and academy trusts too.


Dawn Parkinson, Headteacher at Beaumont Leys says:

"We have used apprenticeships at Beaumont Leys School since 2013. For us they are an effective way to get staff who are eager to learn into school, who bring a new perspective to their role through their studies. We are a school that values and benefits from great loyalty from our long serving staff and the desire to “grow our own” fits entirely with the apprenticeship model."

"As a school there are a number of areas where apprenticeships would work well: ICT, community use and marketing and premises, to name a few. There are a number of routes to choose from when recruiting staff. Based on my experience I would not hesitate to look to the apprenticeship market for our recruitment."

Postgraduate teaching apprenticeship

A new postgraduate teaching apprenticeship to offer talented graduates an alternative route into the profession has been launched in October 2017. Developed in partnership with the sector, the new apprenticeship will provide hands-on experience for new recruits and a chance to learn from excellent, experienced teachers during training, as well as the incentive of potential employment as a qualified teacher at the end of the apprenticeship.

The apprenticeship, which is expected to commence in September 2018, will mirror the entry criteria and high-quality course content currently required of all other teacher trainees and will give schools across the country the opportunity to use the apprenticeship to recruit and train new teachers in-house.

The new teaching apprenticeship will run in parallel with School Direct Salaried (SDS) training in 2018 that already allows graduates to train while on the job. All apprentices will be paid as unqualified teachers. Schools who are not eligible for the apprenticeship levy, or who require additional funds, will receive government funding to cover up to 90 per cent of training costs.

Applications for Initial Teacher Training opened through UCAS on October 26, allowing applicants to convert their place to an apprenticeship at a later date.


Further information on how schools can access this opportunity can be found here: