A series of programmes aimed at recruiting experienced business leaders and talented PhD graduates into the classroom – including one which has seen a former Nasa scientist retrain as a teacher – are to receive more than £10million in Government funding.
Three organisations – Now Teach, Cognition Education and The Brilliant Club – will be backed by the investment to recruit and support up to 600 teachers over the next two years.
The Government says there are 450,000 teachers already working in classrooms across the country, with the new investment building on that by focusing on recruiting people from leading careers and fields of study to share their skills in key subjects.
School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: “Education is all about the teacher standing at the front of the classroom. We have one of the most talented generations of teachers working in our schools and we want to build on that.
“By focusing on skilled professionals who want to change careers and PhD graduates, we can ensure pupils are benefiting from the broadest range of skills, expertise and life experience. This approach will help drive up education standards further so young people are acquiring the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.
“Now Teach is a charity that has encouraged more than 120 talented professionals – including a former Nasa scientist, an investment banker and a corporate lawyer – to change their lives and retrain as teachers in maths, science and modern foreign languages.”
Cognition Education will target career changers in the North East, North West, East Midlands and Yorkshire, with a particular focus on graduates in industries such as engineering.
Both Now Teach and Cognition Education will receive up to £3 million each over the next two academic years, which will contribute to candidate attraction and assessment, as well as recruitment and retention support. Both organisations are aiming to recruit at least 100 teachers per year.
Lucy Kellaway, founder of Now Teach, said: “In our first two years we have recruited more than 120 highly experienced people – from very different walks of life – into the classrooms where they are needed most. This funding not only means we can expand our programme and engage the 400,000 professionals in the UK considering a change to teaching.
“It also means we can enhance the support we give Now Teachers to ensure they stay in the profession long term. Our current retention rate of 89% bucks the trend for older teachers and it’s critical we keep these highly talented and experienced teachers in education.”
Tina Lucas, Group Chief Executive of Cognition Education, said: “Cognition Education is delighted to be supporting the Government’s drive to encourage career-changers into teaching. Individuals with successful professional careers can bring extensive experience and expertise to the classroom and students and schools can benefit enormously from their knowledge and skills.
“Our Transition to Teach programme is designed to support such individuals to realise their full potential and successfully make the transition into the teaching profession.”
The Brilliant Club will focus on recruiting PhD graduates to Ebacc subjects, with an emphasis on maths and physics, at least 70% of participants expected to be in these two subjects.
Funding for this initiative is worth up to £4.7 million over the next two academic years, which will contribute to an uplift to the salaries for maths and physics PhD graduates. The Brilliant Club is also aiming to recruit at least 100 teachers per academic year. Teachers on the programme will receive a tailored package of support and professional development as they progress through their teaching career.
Dame Sue John, Chair of Trustees at The Brilliant Club, said: “We are pleased to continue working with the Department for Education to support postdoctoral career changers into teaching through our Researchers in Schools programme.
“Since 2014, Researchers in Schools has placed over 270 PhD graduates in schools to train as teachers. This partnership will enable us to support even more PhD researchers to enter the classroom, with a stated commitment to sharing their deep subject expertise and supporting young people from under-represented backgrounds to progress to university.”
Last year, 32,710 trainee teachers were recruited – up by 815 (3%) on the previous year, according to Government figures. 98.7% of all teachers have a degree or higher, which has risen by 4.4 percentage points since 2010, and nearly one in five trainees in 2018 has a first-class degree.
The announcement is part of the Government’s plan to increase support for the teaching profession, including boosting training opportunities for teachers in the early stages of their career, a £508 million grant to fund a pay increase up to 3.5% for classroom teachers on the main pay range, and the introduction of flexible working practices.