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Now Teach: DfE ‘re-assessing’ how to get career-changers

The government is ‘re-assessing the best ways’ to attract career-changers into teaching, the schools minister has said, after the DfE axed funding for Now Teach.

Damian Hinds was pressed during Parliamentary education questions today about the announcement over the weekend that the Department for Education will not re-tender the £4.4 million contract for the 2025 recruitment cycle.

This is despite the government having missed its secondary teacher recruitment target by 50 per cent this year.

Founded in 2016 by former Financial Times journalist Lucy Kellaway and former teacher Katie Waldegrave, Now Teach said it has since “supported over 1,000 older people to retrain and become secondary school teachers for STEM shortage subjects in England”.

Kellaway said yesterday that it was “utter madness to axe a target-busting recruitment programme during a recruitment crisis”.

‘Re-assessing’ recruitment

Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Munira Wilson asked Hinds “why on earth” the government was withdrawing funding while missing teacher training targets.

Hinds said career changers “are a very important part of people coming into this noble profession”.

“We are continuing with our career changers programme. We’re not axing Now Teach. We’re not re-procuring it, so we’re not extending it again.”

But he added that “to put it in perspective, it’s about 200 to 250 people in a typical year out of about 7,000 career changers coming into teaching”.

“So we are re-assessing the best ways to attract more of them because we want to grow the number of career changers coming into teaching and make sure we go about it in the very best and most productive way.”

It comes after Teach First, which delivers the government’s separate “high potential” initial teacher training programme, announced a quarter of its cohort now consists of those changing career.

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