Three in four of the older career-changers who joined the Now Teach programmme, co-founded last September by Financial Times journalist Lucy Kellaway, are still standing and will graduate with qualified teacher status this month.
But 25 per cent of the cohort have deferred or quit, blaming schools’ “data-led, assessment-heavy culture”.
Kellaway (pictured below) left her glittering career as a columnist to start the Now Teach programme as a way to encourage high-flying professionals to switch into teaching.
The challenge was taken up by 47 people who left behind previous working lives ranging from pilots to doctors and diplomats. Thirty-six have now qualified, while six deferred or extended their training and five dropped out.
Kellaway, who trained as a maths teacher this year, said: “This has been the most exhausting and humiliating year of my life: it’s also been the most stimulating.
“Even at my lowest point I was cheered and supported by the others who were doing the same thing. I am so proud of them.”
Launched in 2016 with the support of the Ark academy chain, Now Teach operates in London and Hasting and plans to expand into East Anglia and the Midlands next year.
Now Teach director Katie Waldegrave said some trainees left after deciding teaching wasn’t for them, while others found it too much of a “culture clash” or were juggling family responsibilities.
“We are trying to work with schools to make the transition easier, but the fact is the data-led, assessment-heavy culture isn’t one they all feel comfortable in,” she said. “Linked to that is the workload and flexibility issues that we all know so well.”
The organisation has commissioned research with flexible working recruitment specialist Timewise to find ways to help schools retain employees with particular needs outside of work.
Now Teach set an ambitious target of 80 new trainees for 2018-19 and has signed up 74 so far, with a further 20 in the assessment process.
Maths is the most popular subject, with 23 trainees, followed by French with 11 and English with nine. Kellaway wished them all “the best of luck”.