A short-sighted decision

The Department for Education’s decision to cut funding for Now Teach is short-sighted at a time of critical staffing issues in schools.

Teaching for working mums


The Department for Education has reportedly cut funding to the successful Now Teach programme, which helped people switch careers into teaching. The co-founder of the innovative programme, Lucy Kellaway, described the decision to cut funding as ‘almost beyond belief’. Now Teach trains people from all walks of life to be teachers, offers them an extensive support network and promotes flexible working in teaching. The workingmums.co.uk Top Employer Award judges highly commended the organisation in 2020 for the innovative impact it had had in its field, particularly with regard to flexible working.

The flexible training the programme offers is a huge factor in attracting career-changers and people who have never considered teaching before, many of whom are parents.

Peter Jerrom, from the 2017 cohort, previously worked in investment banking, starting at City Bank before moving to organisations including Lehman Brothers and UniCredit. He told Now Teach at the time: “Without the opportunity for compressed training, I would not have considered entering the profession. The opportunity to remain part-time has kept me in the profession. My experience of working flexibly has been fantastic and I love it..I have more choice of when to work. I can see my children more; I can attend more personal and professional events. Ultimately, the biggest benefit so far is that I can be a calmer, better teacher which I think is of great benefit to the students and for my own teaching experience.”

As people work longer and what they want from work changes – for instance, our surveys show a bigger demand for giving something back – the ability to make career switch is vital. With lots of people leaving the teaching profession it seems a no brainer to support organisations like Now Teach.

I’ve contemplated moving into teaching several times during my career and the Now Teach support would have made all the difference. Several members of my family are in teaching and all of them report staffing shortages. My brother has just returned from Argentina after over a decade and is seeking a job in teaching. He’s a university lecturer, but has been teaching in schools in Argentina, although he doesn’t have a PGCE. He’s a great teacher – really engaged in his subject – history – and able to impart that enthusiasm to children. He applied to a couple of UK agencies before he left Argentina and told the agencies when he would be in the UK. Despite that, they rang him continuously in the lead-up to him leaving. The need for teachers is high so it makes absolutely no sense not to support programmes that encourage and support more people into the profession.

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