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Why are we working on ‘Claim funding for mentors’?

In 2020, the Department for Education appointed an expert group to undertake a review of the initial teacher training (ITT) market for courses that lead to qualified teacher status (QTS). The review aimed to enable the provision of consistently high-quality training in line with the ITT core content framework (CCF) in an effective and efficient market.

DfE sought views on the recommendations made in the report through a public consultation and published the government’s response to the ITT market review on 1 December 2021.

In response, the government accepted recommendations to introduce the lead and general mentor roles “given the important role mentoring plays in overall ITT quality.” Furthermore, DfE agreed with the expert advisory group that providers must train their lead and general mentors using appropriate initial and refresher training curricula.”

DfE also committed to funding mentors, stating that “investing in ITT mentoring will improve teaching quality and teacher retention and create a better-supported career pathway by providing mentors with valuable professional development opportunities.”

DfE agreed to make grant funding available of up to:

  • £15 million for general mentors
  • £10 million for lead mentors

This funding will be available to providers and schools in the 2024-25 financial year. It will help to secure backfill for staff taken out of classrooms for this training.

In May 2022, the Department for Education (DfE) published detailed guidance on the funding to aid in the delivery of reformed Initial Teacher Training (ITT) courses leading to the award of Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) from the 2024 to 2025 academic year onwards.

In addition to funding for accredited providers, placement schools could also access grant money to support the new training requirements of school-based (general) mentors.

Schools can claim for the actual hours of training undertaken by the mentor to a maximum of 20 hours per provider.

DfE has designed the funding to support schools currently involved in initial teacher training and incentivise those worried about the cost and resources involved.

Claim funding for mentors is the service that will facilitate the funding claims that placement schools make.

For further information on schools’ role in supporting initial teacher training and mentoring, please see the Why are we working on school placements design history.

Discovery phase

In June 2022, a discovery focused on ensuring that schools and mentors can effectively deliver the new mentoring requirements for the Early Career Framework (ECF), and the ITT Market Review presented its recommendations.

One of the agreed recommendations was to run an Alpha phase to define the core feature set of the funding system to facilitate payment of the general mentor grant to placement schools.

The agreed recommendation was to run a 16-week Alpha​ building on the discovery to conduct direct research and develop options.

​The initial options identified to explore include​:

  • developing claims-based processes for schools​
  • expanding current services such as Register trainee teachers or Continuing professional development (CPD) to enable ITT mentor tracking – and passing data to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to pay schools​
  • creating a bespoke end-to-end service

A bespoke claim form

One of the reasons why a bespoke service for schools is required is the feedback from the ECF team provided during the Discovery.

Schools stated that the ECF payment service was complex as it required information to be inputted by schools, mentors and providers. In addition, ECF processed claims based on information supplied by providers, not schools. This process has resulted in schools failing to associate their funding with mentor training.

The ‘Claim funding for mentors’ service will enable schools to submit their claims and receive funding for mentor training from the Department.

The claim form will use information gathered and validated from the Department’s other services, such as Teacher Record, Register trainee teachers (Register) and Publish teacher training courses (Publish), to enable users to submit the claim quickly and efficiently.