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New Teachers Sought In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough To Address National Recruitment Crisis

Motivated graduates and experienced professionals looking to change career are being urged to consider a switch to the classroom, as Cambridgeshire and Peterborough ramps up its response to the national shortage of teachers through a series of bespoke ‘Train to Teach’ information events taking place across the region.

The free in-person events, organised by Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Teaching School Hub and local Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers CTSN SCITT, The Cambridge Partnership and Teach East, will give insight into the range of primary and secondary school-led programmes which are available to start in September. Following a successful online event on 24th January, where attendees learned about what a career in teaching involves, routes into teaching, the application process, funding options, and other aspects of teacher training, two additional face-to-face events will be held at ARU Cambridge on 7th February (5-7pm) and ARU Peterborough on 7th March (4-7pm).

Nationally, the government missed its target for recruitment of new secondary school teachers by 41% this year. The latest ITT census statistics, published by the Department for Education in December, showed that only 59% of the secondary target was met in 2022-23. The government also missed its target for primary trainees by recruiting just 93% of those needed. STEM subjects face a particular teacher ‘black hole’, with targets missed by 46%. To attract trainee teachers starting this September, bursaries worth up to £27,000 and scholarships worth up to £29,000 in key subjects such as chemistry, computing, mathematics and physics are available for applicants. The government also remains committed to raising the starting salary for new teachers to £30,000 later this year.

Martin Lee, Director of CTSN SCITT, which has training hubs in Cambridge and West Suffolk and strong partnerships with schools across the region, said: “We are keen to hear both from recent graduates who want to get into teaching and benefit from an intellectually stimulating and rewarding environment, and professionals who have made a significant contribution in their business or industry and are looking for a new challenge. Those individuals will be seeking something different from their first career and using that experience to help young people fulfil their potential and be the best version of themselves. The vast majority of our trainees get a job locally at the end of their training, and are supported by a new two-year training programme called the Early Career Framework.”

He continued: “Whilst there are some mandatory qualifications to get into teaching, a BA (Hons) degree and GCSEs in English and maths (plus science for primary training), we are looking for candidates who want to make a positive contribution in working with children and have a commitment to pushing themselves and learning every day. In return, employment opportunities are extremely high for qualifying teachers across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Even in a challenging economic climate you will always need teachers, so in that sense the job is ‘recession proof’, and arguably teachers become even more important with a higher moral purpose the more difficult it gets. Every lesson shapes a life, you never know where the young people you teach will end up.”

Richard Davies, Director of ITT at Meridian Trust and The Cambridge Partnership operating across the East of England, explained: “Primary teachers are in demand in the eastern region, more so than in the north of England for example. Most secondary subjects are also in demand but especially maths, sciences, computing, geography and MFL. Bursaries are available to support trainees in these subjects, but good teachers will always find a job and rise rapidly through the system in subject, phase or pastoral leadership. The career is well-established, with rapid progression and most importantly job satisfaction. Most of the trainees who come to us have decided they want a career that makes a difference. Teaching can be difficult intellectually and emotionally and teachers must be committed to the cause if they are to be successful. Motivation and resilience are absolutely key.”

Henry Sauntson, Director at Teach East which feeds into primary and secondary schools in Peterborough, added: “90% of our trainees last year were in jobs in September. This year there is a desperate recruitment need across Peterborough primary schools, as well as huge opportunities in the STEM subjects in secondary schools. It really can be a career for life, if you want it to be. You are never too old, and it is never too late to train. For example, we have a 59-year-old former industry professional on our course, and so being paid to talk about what you love on a daily basis, grow and develop students as individuals, is a wonderful opportunity. Candidates must have an ability to work on their own and be in control of their decisions, but also enjoy the collegiality that comes with the profession. Empathy and humility are also essential, as is being prepared to get better every day.”