Just one in ten returner teachers recruited under a government scheme to boost ailing numbers of maths and physics teachers actually went on to secure jobs in schools.
An evaluation report of the Return to Teaching (RTT) scheme published today found that those attempting to make a return to the classroom were halted by “negativity of schools”.
The scheme ran from 2015 to 2016, with 541 returners taking part. However just 63 (11.6 per cent) actually secured a job.
The report, commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE), stated while the programme met its target of recruiting 50 teachers, it had a “lower than anticipated” conversion rate.
The report stated this was “partly due to schools being reluctant to offer shadowing and placement opportunities and/or to employ returners”.
The study also suggests that there isn’t as large a population of inactive teachers as previously thought, calling for this to be “monitored in the future”.
The returner teacher scheme was announced by former prime minister David Cameron in 2015, who wanted to target the 30,000 teachers who leave the profession each year.
But the report found a “key difficulty” identified by returners was the impression given that schools were “desperate” for maths and physics teachers, only to find schools “unresponsive” to their contacts.
That included returners requesting opportunities to shadow staff, or have access to a mentor or apply for jobs.
“This led to a minority of interviewees reporting feeling resentful and undervalues, especially those who felt there should be some allowance for expenses or paid internship as part of the strand.”
It added some returners who were interviewed “held the perception that heads and staff were negative towards them and thought the fact they had previously left the profession showed a lack of commitment”.
Schools Week reported in November that the government had launched another returner teacher pilot – this time offering schools up to £5,000 if the teacher gained employment.
The report, by researchers from Sheffield Hallam University and the National Foundation for Educational Research, urged the government to provide placements for potential returners, provide courses with more integrated classroom experience, and incorporate a brokering role with schools.