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Trainee teachers to be offered fee-free apprenticeship degrees

Trainee teachers will be able to earn while they learn after ministers announced a "game-changing" apprenticeship scheme providing cost-free degrees.

The Department for Education (DfE) said the teacher degree apprenticeship will be "a high-quality, alternative route" to become a qualified primary or secondary school teacher.

A government spokesperson said the first apprentices, up to 150 to teach secondary school maths, will be recruited this autumn for a pilot scheme to start next year.

The apprenticeships will last four years, with apprentices spending around 40% of their time studying with an accredited teacher training provider.

All tuition fees are set to be paid for, the spokesperson said.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan, said the apprenticeships "will open up the profession to more people, from those who want a career change to those who are looking for an earn-and-learn route without student debt".

"It will be a game-changing opportunity for schools to nurture and retain talent from the ground up, helping apprentices to gain the knowledge and skills they need to teach future generations."

Jennifer Coupland, chief executive of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, said the scheme will make a "big difference with encouraging people from wider backgrounds into the profession, helping with social mobility and making sure schools get all the talented teachers they need.

"I think it's also really important that this will provide extra support for brilliant teaching assistants and other people working in schools, who want to be teachers, to make that next step."

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But Labour said the proposal was "mere window dressing from a Conservative government that has overseen a mass exodus of teachers from our classrooms".

Bridget Phillipson, shadow education secretary, said: "Teachers are leaving in their droves, while too few are being recruited - the result of the Conservatives destroying the crucial relationship between government and schools.

"Labour will reset that relationship and invest in recruiting thousands of expert teachers to drive high and rising standards in our state schools."