By Claire West

Last year saw a rise in the number of public sector workers switching careers to become teachers through the Training and Development Agency for Schools Transition to Teaching programme.

2010 has seen a surge in the number of public sector workers switching careers to become teachers, with the number of state employees entering teaching through the TDA’s Transition to Teaching programme more than three times the 2009 figure (60 to 193). The increase in former public sector workers is even more significant when compared to 2008, which saw just 8 people sign up.

The New Year is traditionally a time when many people consider switching career, with new data showing that 3 in 5 people in England are considering changing careers. The latest figures from the TDA show that in the last recruitment cycle, 40 per cent of all teaching enquiries were made in the first three months of the year.

Undoubtedly, the recession has influenced the influx of professionals entering teaching since 2007. However, new research shows that members of the public are most likely to change careers for a new challenge, followed by job security and opportunities for career progression.

According to the public sector organisations enrolled in Transition to Teaching, recent budget cuts in the public sector have meant that more experienced professionals are considering retraining as teachers.

Graham Holley, Chief Executive of the Training and Development Agency 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.”

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.

“We know that no issue is more important when it comes to attracting good people into teaching than tackling poor pupil behaviour in schools. Raising standards of behaviour in our schools is a key priority of the Coalition Government, with more powers and support for teachers and heads. We want all schools to establish a culture of respect and good behaviour, creating a working environment attractive to young professionals.”