Response to end of teacher recruitment programme for career switchers

Commenting on the news that the government plans to end its Career Change Programme, which recruits people in other careers into teaching, Helen Osgood, Community’s Operations Director and National Officer for Education and Early Years, said:

“It is astonishing that the government is ending this scheme in the midst of a teacher recruitment and retention crisis. Recruiting teachers from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences enriches the profession, especially at a time when there is such an acute shortage of teachers.

“Recruitment targets are being missed while experienced teachers are leaving in droves: teacher vacancies are up almost sixfold from where they were in 2010. In many cases – and particularly since academization – this has meant low-paid teaching assistants are having to step in to cover classes at an increasing rate.

“This practice is unfair on TAs who are not qualified or paid to fulfil this role. For some time now, Community Union has helped many TA’s, who find themselves coming under pressure from Senior Leaders to perform the role of a teacher, without the Government investment, training or pay to do so.  We continually work with TA’s up and down the country to ensure that they are not put under pressure to perform roles that fall outside of their job description and we will continue to work to stop this unlawful practice.

“The system is creaking and urgently needs attention. We welcome Labour’s plans to address the recruitment and retention crisis as a priority.”

Members can read more of our specific guidance for classroom support staff here.

Community is the union for education and early years professionals: representing teachers, headteachers, education, school support staff and early years staff. With over fifty years’ experience, we represent members and campaign to improve conditions for education and early years professionals. We are a modern trade union, campaigning for a better working world.

If you are a member of Community and need advice or support, please contact our Service Centre at or on 0800 389 6332.

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