Bringing Experts into Teaching: Opportunities for ITTs

Julius Caesar once said; “Experience is the teacher of all things”

The Department for Education seems to be on his wavelength as it looks more and more to welcome experienced professionals and trained academics into teaching. Not only do these individuals generally have a lot of knowledge in their profession and their field of expertise, but they represent good value in teacher training terms. Although they often begin with expensive benefits, they are generally more knowledgeable, committed and adaptable, as well as less likely to drop out of training programmes compared to the average trainee.

Many people with experience in other professions retrain to be teachers every year, as do people who have progressed far in academia and are looking to give something back. The programmes themselves are also an effective way to combat the shortage of new and trainee teachers in schools.

Programmes bringing experience into teaching

As part of its drive to attract people with different types of experience, the government has launched and supported a number of different schemes.

Part time programmes help people to train as teachers while maintaining an involvement in their existing profession, as well as retaining the salary that goes with it. These are offered in association with a number of school led and university led teacher training providers. On the other end of the scale, accelerate courses are designed to help people achieve the move into teaching as rapidly as possible and can be completed in as little as two terms. Both of these programmes are considering new ITT partners.

Now Teach is a programme aimed at senior professionals who want to move on to a teaching career, taking their valuable skills and experience with them. The programme offers a number of different types of support tailored to the needs of such people, including one to one advisory sessions, assistance to locate a local school and information events. Currently operating in London and Hastings, it is seen as a potential forerunner to a much wider scheme still to come.

Researchers in Schools is another innovative programme working in partnership with Initial Teacher Training providers in under-privileged areas around the UK and looking to get involved with more ITTs. Have a look on the website for more details. The aim is to attract PhD graduates, new and old, into teaching in order to improve the quality of education offered by state schools to students of all backgrounds. Trainees on the programme are given Honorary Research Associate status at Kings College London, along with a less demanding schedule to help them maintain a research profile.

It is delivered by the Brilliant Club charity, which aims to increase the number of students from less privileged backgrounds going on to excel in higher education and beyond.

These programmes between them offer a lot of new options to ITTs and are worth taking notice of.