Big surge in demand for career as teacher

The number of public sector workers applying to re-train as teachers has almost doubled in the last two years, figures show.

Applications to the Transition to Teaching scheme have risen by 96 per cent since 2008 while the number of workers switching to a career in the classroom increased by 69 per cent in 2010 alone.

The programme, run by the Training and Development Agency (TDA) for Schools, promotes teaching among high-performing public sector employees and now works with almost 300 public organisations, up from just 49 in 2008.

Graham Holley, chief executive of the TDA for Schools, said: "The huge surge of interest in Transition to Teaching from staff in public sector organisations shows that, while teaching is certainly not the job for everyone, there is a large pool of experienced people who have the right motivation and qualifications for changing careers and entering the classroom.

"What is particularly exciting about more public sector workers moving into teaching is that they already tend to be passionate about making a difference and being inspirational at work – both of which are fundamental pre-requisites for being a good teacher."

The TDA said it was expecting a boost in the number of inquiries about entering teaching because new year is traditionally a time when people think about a career change.

In its last recruitment period, 40 per cent of all teaching inquiries were made in the first three months of the year, figures showed.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: "Teaching is a hugely rewarding and challenging career. The evidence from around the world shows us that the single most important factor in raising standards in schools is the quality of teachers and that is why we are committed to attracting more great people into the profession.

"As set out in our Schools White Paper, we are dramatically reducing bureaucratic guidance and red tape that puts people off entering teaching and we are reforming initial teacher training so that more training is on the job.

"We will create a new national network of Teaching Schools, run by outstanding schools, which will lead on the training and professional development of teachers and be supported by university-led training schools."

Research also showed people were most likely to change careers for a new challenge followed by job security and career progressions, according to the TDA.

Elizabeth Barnard, a former corporate communications manager, is training to be a chemistry teacher after leaving Birmingham City Council in September.

She said: "With a biology degree under my belt, I've always wanted to use my scientific knowledge in my job and teaching will give me the chance to do just that.

"Working in the council gave me the opportunity to give something back to the community and teaching will help me to continue in this vein. In particular, I can use the communication skills I've developed to connect with students who may be struggling to relate to tough topics.

"I also want to help students realise that there are lots of different roles and career paths that they can take."

Research into the general public's views on careers was conducted by ICM, which carried out research amongst 1,148 UK residents between December 14-16. Data on Transition to Teaching was provided by Nord Anglia Education.