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Mature Students

Question for Department for Education

UIN 17966, tabled on 26 November 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support the Goverment is providing for mature students who wish to enter the teaching profession; and if she will make a statement.

Answered on

4 December 2015

Mature students are an important source of new teachers and bring relevant knowledge and skills from their previous employment. In 2015/16, 21 per cent of new entrants to initial teacher training (ITT) courses were aged 30 or over. To attract more potential career changers, our marketing campaign, ‘Your Future, Their Future’, uses a range of media, including television advertising, national newspaper advertising and targeted digital and print communications. As part of this we will be running the ‘New Year New Career’ sub-campaign, which is dedicated to attracting career changers, throughout January 2016.

We provide support specifically for career changers to make the transition to teaching, especially in the subjects where they are needed the most, including:

  • The School Direct (salaried) route is specifically targeted at career changers with three years’ work experience and allows them to earn a salary whilst they train to teach. We provide grant funding to schools to subsidise the costs of salary and training for trainees on this route.
  • For ITT 2016/17, we are working with 18 School Direct lead schools to develop and recruit to part-time and abridged School Direct (salaried) courses in maths and physics starting in September 2016. The aim of this pilot is to test whether schools can attract more career changers by offering flexible training routes which meet the needs of different individuals.

In addition, career changers can access extensive support that is available for all ITT candidates. This includes bursaries or scholarships of up to £30,000 tax-free; advice and guidance from the expert advisers on the Get Into Teaching Line; help with arranging school experience to assist with their ITT application; and access to our free Train to Teach events.

Those who wish to teach secondary biology, geography, maths, physics, chemistry, languages or computing are also eligible for our enhanced Premier Plus service. This includes tailored advice from a dedicated adviser, including the practicalities that often affect career changers, such as childcare funding. Applicants who wish to teach these subjects can also access funded Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) courses, through which they can boost or refresh their subject knowledge.