For the past four years, Grace Herček has been a consultant working with managing directors across worldleading consulting firms, investment banks, asset managers and retail banks to find the best talent to lead their global businesses. So, what was her next step? Grace can now be found training to teach Primary in Hertfordshire, UK, and she’s so excited!

According to the London School of Business & Finance’s (LSBF) 2015 Careers report, 47% of the UK workforce would like to make a career change but how many actually do? The Office for National Statistics (ONS) states that ‘on average, around 9% of people changed jobs each year between 2000 and 2018’ (Office for National Statistics, 2019). LSBF’s report goes on to detail some of the challenges around career changing; ‘Almost a third (29%) said the lack of financial security around changing careers was a major barrier, while uncertainty about what to switch to (20%) and a fear of failure (15%) were also identified as obstacles to changing career’.

Percentage of people changing jobs UK

How Transition to Teach started

In 2018, Cognition Education was commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) in the UK to attract, recruit and retain career changing individuals into the education market, and so Transition to Teach (T2T) was created.

The Department for Education (DfE) believes that all pupils, regardless of birth or background, should receive an excellent education. Central to this is ensuring that all schools in England have access to high-quality teachers. However, since 2010, the recruitment of new teachers in the UK has failed to keep pace with the increase in pupil numbers. The Initial Teacher Training (ITT) census for 2019-20 shows the number of trainees recruited at primary level was 4% below target and 15% below target for secondary level, with difficulties in recruiting to secondary subjects such as Modern Foreign Languages and STEM subjects.

ITT contribution to recruitment

What does Transition to Teach do?

The Transition to Teach (T2T) programme supports career changers to make the transition into teaching by promoting and identifying new career opportunities to professionals and supporting them to make the switch into the education sector. The scheme focuses on encouraging these people to recognise how their existing skills and industry/professional experience can be applied in the classroom, to make a positive impact on young people and provide an outstanding level of education across the country. The T2T programme of support ‘wraps around’ existing Initial Teacher Training (ITT) provision leading to Qualified Teacher Status, delivered by an accredited ITT provider. Therefore, whilst Cognition supports participants to find the most suitable ITT provision and works closely with ITT providers, this element is not directly provided by Cognition Education or funded through the programme.

“One of my trainees valued her Guidance and Development Adviser (GDA) so much that she preferred to get in touch with her GDA … to ask for advice. The GDA worked in partnership with [us] to secure a different mentor for the participant and she has now been recommended for QTS. Without the support of her GDA, there is a possibility that this participant would have left the course.”

Ashton

Mersey ITT Provider

Grace Herček says, Throughout my career, I had to understand people’s motivations, get to the root of their thought process and anticipate what decisions they might make and why. Through this ‘sixth sense’, I have developed an ability to quickly assess a situation and fundamentally focus on people’s behaviours, what motivates them and what demotivates them. As far as I can see, this is essential to ensuring that a child is successful in the classroom.”

Transition to Teach truly value the skills that career changers bring to the classroom and they couldn’t agree with Grace more. The team works with each individual to identify their transferrable skills and to encourage them to use these skills to ‘add value’ to their classrooms and to support them to successfully make the transition to becoming a teacher.

 

Attraction

Before launching Transition to Teach, Cognition used their links with schools to research existing career changer teachers. Of those surveyed, the key motivations behind moving into the teaching profession were found to be: a desire to work with children, passion for a subject, and the belief that education benefits the local community and wider society. Cognition also found the following to be areas of concern for these career changers: finances, lack of subject knowledge and lack of confidence. As a result of these findings, Transition to Teach’s messaging focuses on using case studies to inspire confidence that others have successfully made this transition and highlighting how transferrable skills can be utilised within a classroom setting to inspire confidence. Transition to Teach also supports the Department for Education’s messaging around the impact that teachers can make in the classroom.

To attract potential career changers, the team have an increasing focus on engaging employers across the UK. When organisations experience change, the required skillset of their workforce may alter, leaving employers in a position where they need to make staffing changes. Transition to Teach works with employers to inform their exiting staff about careers within education and make them aware of the available support. Due to the turbulent COVID-19 pandemic, the need for this service has never been greater.

 

Recruitment

The recruitment team support individuals from the initial interest stage through to programme enrolments. They are made up of education professionals with teaching backgrounds that can give advice, often based on previous experience. To support the efforts to increase Initial Teacher Training (ITT) recruitment in the shortage subjects, Transition to Teach focusses on supporting those training to teach Chemistry, Computing, Maths, Modern Foreign Languages and Physics, with trainees in these subject areas making up over 75% of Cohort 2.   

A bespoke package of support is offered to each expression of interest, even if that means signposting individuals to other areas of the education sector if they aren’t eligible to teach. Support consists of explaining the different ITT routes, exploring finances and childcare options, and step by step support through the application process. You’ll often find the team supporting eligible applicants with their 2nd or 3rd draft of a personal statement or running through interview preparation prior to the ITT interview. This level of support doesn’t go unnoticed with the latest survey respondents rating the quality of advice and support as 9.29/10.

 

Retention

Career changers require more support than new graduate applicants to ITT, in both deciding to apply for teaching, and throughout the transition from their previous careers into the classroom. As detailed above, they can face several challenges such as changing income (particularly as many have significant financial commitments), returning to training, and successfully transferring their knowledge and skills to a new profession.

Through-out their Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) year, participants are assigned a Guidance and Development Adviser (GDA) that supports them through their journey. Our GDAs have previous senior leadership experience that they can draw on, consisting of Head of Department, Executive Head, Assistant Headteacher, Lead Ofsted inspector and Education Consultant roles. The wealth of experience and knowledge that Transition to Teach participants can draw on is outstanding and is reflected in the feedback received with participants rating the quality of GDA support as 4.84/5. 

Part of the Transition to Teach’s recruitment process is to complete a personality profile on individuals to gain an understanding of their motivations and drivers. This information is used by our team of GDAs to coach participants through their ITT and NQT year to come up with strategies around potential issues they may face based on the findings of their personality profile. Participants are then directed to a bespoke suite of events/topics that can support them in certain areas i.e. someone with a low resilience score would be directed to a webinar run by a qualified coach on well-being and building resilience.

Our GDAs also work with participants on career development planning. Many of the career changers have had previous experience with management or wish to climb the ladder to boost their income and have a greater impact on wider education. GDAs are able to direct participants to relevant Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities and coach them on how to begin to work towards promotional opportunities.

 

Impact

The successful recruitment of both Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 has contributed to an additional 100 career changers entering Initial Teacher Training (ITT). The focus on recruiting individuals that have never thought about teaching before clearly illustrates that Transition to Teach is positively contributing to the teacher recruitment challenges in the UK. 

UK Government figures on ITT retention show that, of those that started their ITT year in 2018/19, 91% were awarded their Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Whilst we aren’t comparing like-for-like data, Transition to Teach report that their first cohort look likely to exceed this number with 95.9% likely to be awarded QTS.

“The T2T team have been incredible … In the early part of my training, I had some really difficult issues with my mentor and my Guidance and Development Adviser (GDA) was very supportive … He worked closely with my Initial Teacher Training (ITT) school and was always there to support me … My GDA was pivotal in my securing a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) post. He helped me with my application and gave me support and assistance before my interview. During the COVID-19 school closure, the team provided us with an abundance of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities even before my ITT provider… knowledge and advice is second to none. I am so pleased I was able to join the T2T programme and encourage anyone that has the opportunity to grab it with both hands, it’s an extra support network, and they offer so much … I’m not sure I would have managed to get where I am within my teacher training journey without them.”

T2T Programme Participant

Next steps for Transition to Teach

The team at Transition to Teach are in their busiest year yet with Cohort 1 in their Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) year, Cohort 2 in Initial Teacher Training (ITT), and recruitment for Cohort 3 underway. The Guidance and Development Advisers (GDAs) continue to provide support in a wide range of topics such as blended learning, managing behaviour, career development, and wellbeing. The programme expects to continue to see high retention rates. The aims for Cohort 3 are to split the focus between employer engagement recruitment activity and supporting those in the key subjects of Chemistry, Computing, Maths, Modern Foreign Languages and Physics.  

The individuals that enrol in the programme bring a fantastic variety of skills to the classroom and the team are proud to work on such a worthwhile programme. With individuals like Jamie Curley onboard who previously worked with Surgeons and Nurses in his role as Territory Manager for a Medical Technology firm, now working as a secondary school Biology teacher, the team can clearly see the impact they are making to the sector. “The skills I’ve brought from my previous career into the classroom are organisation, communication, people skills, ability to work on my own initiative and planning”, says Jamie. Jamie also worked as an adult instructor with Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force and would love to introduce an after-school Army Cadet Club into his school. What a fantastic way of adding value to his community!

 

For more information on the Transition to Teach programme, and to read participant case studies, visit our expertise page.