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Too many obstacles in the way of would-be returning teachers, says education recruitment specialist

TLTP Education (The London Teaching Pool) says that the survey, conducted by insurance provider Teachers Assurance, demonstrates that, at a time when there is a shortage of experienced teaching staff, more could be done to attract teachers back to the profession. Half the teachers surveyed by Teachers Assurance said that they would consider a part-time role during their retirement.

“This survey adds to our own anecdotal evidence that there are experienced teachers who have left the profession, for whatever reason, who would be interested in returning if the route back was made easier for them,” explains TLTP managing director Darryl Mydat.

“Although there is no statutory requirement for former teachers to complete training before they return to teaching and thousands do, we hear from many who feel the way is being blocked. Some people are telling us that their time away from the profession is inhibiting their return, others are saying that they are being told to volunteer at schools as a route back in, but this means no pay for them and potentially increased child care costs. A number of schools also prefer to take less experienced teachers on cost grounds.”

Mydat says that, although the Department of Education recommends returning teachers to consider Subject Knowledge Enhancement courses, enrolment requires you to be a qualified teacher already currently employed in a school. All this, says Mydat, at a time following the withdrawal of government funding for the well respected and much used teachers’ & lsquo;Return to Work’ courses. The & lsquo;Return to Work’ courses were designed as short refresher courses for former teachers who had taken career breaks, either to raise families or spend time in industry, with access back into work. They were, Mydat says, a key source of teachers who now have a more complex route to negotiate to get back into the classroom.

“We are not in a situation where we have the luxury of making life difficult for experienced, qualified teachers who want to return to the profession,” he says.

“There is a shortage already of teachers in core subjects as well as teachers leaving the profession in worrying numbers, citing stress and bureaucracy as the key reasons. Schools need to be encouraged or even incentivised to ensure they are getting the right blend of new qualified and experienced staff as we have to find a way of getting experience back in our classrooms and doing it quickly.”

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