There is an ongoing crisis caused by staffing shortages in schools because of the pandemic. Due to the Omicron variant spreading so widely and quickly, many teachers across the country are having to self-isolate. There is immense pressure on the government, particularly from parents, to ensure that schools remain open for face-to-face teaching so that another school year is not lost.
On 20th December 2021, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi put out a call for retired teachers and those who have left the profession to return temporarily to fill the gap.
On 12th January, the government reported that it was estimated that 585 teachers had already signed up to return to teaching.
Nadhim Zahawi said:
“I want to thank all former teachers who have come forward to support the national effort and help keep our children in face-to-face education. I call on all other former teachers who are able to do the same to come forward now.”
With staff shortages a problem across many schools nationwide in both primary and secondary, it is a great time for ex-teachers to return to the classroom and put their skills and experience to good use.
Requirements for Returning to Teaching
The urgency of trying to keep schools open means the government has tried to make it easy for those who want to sign up. While the rules regarding a reference from a school may be relaxed, safeguarding and maintaining high standards of practice are still essential.
There are 4 fundamental requirements for teachers wanting to return to the classroom:
- must have qualified teacher status (QTS).
- must have prior experience working with children in a school setting.
- must be willing to undergo a DBS check.
- must have a legal right to work in the UK.
Temporary or permanent return to teaching?
The Education Secretary has used the phrase ‘temporary return to teaching’ as the immediate concern is to have a bigger pool of qualified supply teachers available to cover shortages as they occur. However, getting back into the classroom temporarily can be a great way to gain some more recent experience needed to apply for more permanent positions.
Once out of the classroom, returning can seem like a daunting experience, especially as new initiatives are always being introduced that can leave ex-teachers feeling cut off. Getting back via supply can be a gateway to building confidence, updating knowledge and building a new network of colleagues.
With teacher retention a problem that has been growing over a number of years, the prospect of regaining experienced teachers is seen by many as a positive outcome for education in the UK.
How to return to teaching?
For any teacher that is considering taking up the call, they should know that they will not be going through the process alone. Teacher Supply Agencies that are part of the government framework have been asked to work with ex-teachers to help them complete all of the requirements and relevant checks needed.
Getting a new DBS can be time-consuming but the supply agencies will also assist teachers to get this completed as soon as possible so they will be available for work.
Teacher shortages will likely remain an ongoing problem in 2022. There is likely to be a high demand in all sectors of education for supply staff.
Now is the time for those who want to be part of the solution and flex their pedagogy once again to take the first step. You can get in touch with us at Strategy Education today for more information.