Schools

Support for returning teachers extended amid recruitment woes

All former secondary teachers will now be able to access support from an adviser previously reserved for "priority" subjects

All former secondary teachers will now be able to access support from an adviser previously reserved for "priority" subjects

3 Oct 2022, 17:25

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The government has ramped up efforts to lure ex-teachers back into classrooms after worse-than-expected recruitment of trainees this year.

In an update to school leaders on Monday, it confirmed that returning teachers in any secondary subject would be eligible to receive support from an adviser.

The support, offered through the government’s Return to Teaching website, allows candidates to gain help with the application process and finding vacancies.

Previously, only former teachers of “priority” subjects were able to gain free access to an adviser. These included maths, physics, modern languages, chemistry and computing teachers.

Offer comes as government struggles to recruit new secondary teachers

It comes amid continuing recruitment issues for the department, although it made no reference to these in its update.

“We are now offering support to former teachers considering returning to teach any secondary subject,” it said.

“Our expert return to teaching advisers can provide support every step of the way.”

New government data published last week suggested it had missed its target for trainee secondary recruits by even more than had been forecasted.

As of 19 September, just 12,646 applicants to secondary initial teacher training (ITT) courses this year had been recruited. The DfE’s target for 2022-23 is 20,945.

The target for physics recruits had been missed by the biggest margin, at 80 per cent. But several other subjects – including Business Studies, Music, Geography and English – look set to face shortfalls.

An analysis conducted by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) showed a strong correlation between subjects with the largest falls in recruits and the biggest drop in bursaries.

But the government’s strategy to get former teachers back into the profession has also faltered in recent years.

Last month, Schools Week revealed that just 23 physics teachers eligible for support from an adviser under the Return to Teaching scheme had returned in two years.

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