Now Teach: DfE ‘re-assessing’ how to get career-changers

Damian Hinds was quizzed about the decision to axe programme's funding

Damian Hinds was quizzed about the decision to axe programme's funding

Damian Hinds

The government is ‘re-assessing the best ways’ to attract career-changers into teaching, the schools minister has said, after the DfE axed funding for Now Teach.

Damian Hinds was pressed during Parliamentary education questions today about the announcement over the weekend that the Department for Education will not re-tender the £4.4 million contract for the 2025 recruitment cycle.

This is despite the government having missed its secondary teacher recruitment target by 50 per cent this year.

Founded in 2016 by former Financial Times journalist Lucy Kellaway and former teacher Katie Waldegrave, Now Teach said it has since “supported over 1,000 older people to retrain and become secondary school teachers for STEM shortage subjects in England”.

Kellaway said yesterday that it was “utter madness to axe a target-busting recruitment programme during a recruitment crisis”.

‘Re-assessing’ recruitment

Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Munira Wilson asked Hinds “why on earth” the government was withdrawing funding while missing teacher training targets.

Hinds said career changers “are a very important part of people coming into this noble profession”.

“We are continuing with our career changers programme. We’re not axing Now Teach. We’re not re-procuring it, so we’re not extending it again.”

But he added that “to put it in perspective, it’s about 200 to 250 people in a typical year out of about 7,000 career changers coming into teaching”.

“So we are re-assessing the best ways to attract more of them because we want to grow the number of career changers coming into teaching and make sure we go about it in the very best and most productive way.”

It comes after Teach First, which delivers the government’s separate “high potential” initial teacher training programme, announced a quarter of its cohort now consists of those changing career.

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  1. David Gunning

    I am a carreer changer and would encourage others into the profession after they have had experience elsewhere. By doing so we bring in a huge amount of cultural capital and wisdom gained from experience in others fields and of course from life in general.

    In so many of my tutor group sessions and my maths lessons I am able to bring in anecdotes from my previous careers in business, marketing, acting and retail as my general life experience!!!

    My fellow career changers too bring in stories from their previous employs. All of this brings a richness to many lessons that new graduates cannot necessarily bring.

    I am now 59 having gone into teaching when I was 51 and it is the best career. Am I lacking the energy of a raw graduate? Asolutely not. Am I thinking about retiring? No, I am not. Should I have gone into teaching earlier? No, everything has worked perfectly to allow me to be the teacher I am today.

    I am passionate about encouraging people to change profesaion and leave a legacy through teaching.

  2. Nick File

    Speaking from experience as a career changer the incentive to join the teaching profession was intrinsic. I wanted to do something more rewarding than the several sales jobs I had previously had. I was lucky and was paid to train as part of a graduate teaching program. I was also fortunate as I had achieved a degree with a large company in an apprenticeship style.

    My question is has anyone ever considered writing off student loans for career changers? This would not directly cost the government and would be an incentive to change profession.