General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Career changers turn to teaching



Applications for teacher training courses in England have risen by 10% this year, the Training and Development Agency for Schools says.

Around one in 10 career changers is considering training to be a teacher, a survey it commissioned suggests.

The TDA says there has been a large increase in applications to teach science and maths - which traditionally attract fewer applicants.

It says there are enough teaching vacancies for the growth in applicants.

Last year, the number of vacancies in primary and secondary schools in England rose by a quarter.

The current surge in applicants is thought to be a result of the recession, and the TDA has actively targeted workers in the financial industry through recruitment events in the City.

The TDA questioned 541 workers about their career change. Of these 70 were interested in entering the profession.

Chief executive of the TDA, Graham Holley, said the sustained rise in enquiries was "unprecedented".

In September 2008, enquiries about teaching were up 13% over the previous year.

The actual number of applications subsequently received between 1 December 2008 and 3 February 2009 was up 10% on the same period last year.

Science and maths

The TDA's head of recruitment, Martin Dore, said he thought it was "possibly becoming more competitive" to get accepted on a teacher training course.

"More people are looking at teaching as a result of the current climate - they're thinking that now is a good time to explore teaching."

Applications to teach science are up by 23% this year, the TDA says.

But the number of places available this academic year has actually decreased slightly.

Ceri Evans has just switched to science teaching from academic research.

He said the main reason for making the change was the sense of satisfaction in seeing young people learn.

"Teaching is one of the few professions where you get to use your talents in a different way almost every day," he said.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families determines the number of teacher training places available each year to maintain the right number of teachers, taking into account the number set to retire or leave for other reasons.

The TDA says it needs to recruit 6,600 new science teachers over the next two years, and says it still needs to continue to attract many more applicants across a range of subjects.


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