THE Government is keen to see high-flying graduates moving into teaching, particularly if they have a background in industry.
A recent North-East recruit to teaching who fits the bill is Mary Atherton, a maths teacher at Carmel College in Darlington, who used to work for a multinational IT services company.
Another major point in her favour – from the Government’s point of view – is that she holds a coveted first class B.Sc. in computer science.
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Ministers are determined to persuade the best graduates to consider bringing their skills and talent to the classroom, particularly if they have first class honours degrees.
Mrs Atherton told The Northern Echo: “Before going into teaching, I worked in a technical role for a large IT company, and was responsible for the overall design of fully integrated ICT solutions for some large government departments.”
When her son was diagnosed with dyslexia, she helped him to overcome his condition and whilst doing so became knowledgeable about and fascinated by the challenges facing beginner readers of English. This experience convinced her to become a teacher.
“The progression opportunities and quality of training are excellent at my school. In my first year I was appointed to the post of assistant curriculum leader in maths, and I’ve also been on some valuable department-led maths development programmes,” said Mrs Atherton.
“I really like seeing the children enjoying being at school and celebrating their successes. I’m involved in a number of school clubs, including our cycling group, which cycled coast-to-coast for the first time last year.”
Mrs Atherton describes teaching as “a challenging and rewarding career” and her goal is to become an expert maths teacher.
“I want my students to leave school with the best possible grasp of the subject,” she adds.
Mrs Atherton said she would encourage anyone who likes working with children to consider a career in teaching.
“It’s hard work but the opportunities available and the satisfaction you take from creating fun lessons that engage your students, mean it’s certainly worth it.”
There are a number of routes into teaching for career changers including university-based courses where trainees learn in a top university and spend time training in a school.
Another popular route for career changers is School Direct , which has places available in some of the best primary and secondary schools across England.
Incentives include a salary for graduates with three or more years’ work experience, who can apply for the employment-based School Direct (salaried) route. All other graduates can apply for the School Direct fee-based programme or university-based teacher training - well qualified candidates could be eligible for a substantial tax-free bursary of up to £20,000 or a scholarship of up to £25,000.
Applications for teacher training in 2014 are now open. Those interested in becoming a teacher are encouraged to register with NCTL to receive a comprehensive programme of support and guidance.
For more information about this, the different routes into teaching and financial support available, visit www.education.gov.uk/getintoteaching or call the Teaching Line on 0800 389 2500.