New programme will help former teachers return to the classroom

PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 February 2016 | UPDATED: 07:20 11 February 2016

Former teacher Ann Marie Pointer, who is looking at returning to the profession, with pupils at Thorpe St Andrew School.

Former teacher Ann Marie Pointer, who is looking at returning to the profession, with pupils at Thorpe St Andrew School. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY


Two Norfolk schools are joining forces to help ex-teachers back into the classroom, in a bid to tackle the growing recruitment crisis.

“I think people who have an empty nest may feel they can now give it a go”

Ann Marie Pointer, a former chemist, had taught at the Hewett, Hellesdon and Blyth- Jex secondary schools, but it is now 10 years since she worked at a high school, and four since she did supply teaching in primary schools.

Now in her 50s, the Old Catton resident hopes the course will lead to a part-time teaching post in a high school.

She has observed lessons at Thorpe St Andrew School, and said: “You always have a bit of apprehension when you go back to something, but in 10 minutes I felt ‘yes, I have done this before’, and I felt confident.

“I have more time now because my family has grown up. I feel I can give it a lot more.

“I think people who have an empty nest may feel they could now give it a go.”

She said the return to teaching course “ticked all the boxes”.

In an EDP survey last year, Norfolk heads said attracting high-quality candidates was the biggest challenge they were facing, and this week an EDP survey of teachers found 64pc were considering quitting in the next three years.

Thorpe St Andrew School and Sheringham Primary were already planning a joint programme to help potential returnees when they successfully applied to pilot the government’s Return to Teaching scheme.

The first training day is next month, and aims to get teachers back to school in September.

Rob Brewster, of Sheringham Primary teaching school, said: “It could be for people who have left the profession and feel they really miss it and want to get back into the classroom.

“It’s those people who had the glimpse of the idea of coming back.”

The programme includes two days of training and a five-day school placement, and aims to give people with a teaching qualification up-to-date classroom experience, knowledge of their subject and classroom practice, guidance on applying, and a network of similar people.

The government offers full bursaries for high school teachers of English, maths, history, geography, physics, chemistry, biology and modern languages, while there are subsidised places for other subjects, and for primary school teachers.

Jan Gallon, assistant principal of Thorpe St Andrew School, is a returnee herself, having taught for four years before having a family and working in public relations.

She said: “I felt that my business experience gave me a really good boost in terms of leadership, and I came back in a leadership post which I certainly would not have done previously.”

Contact or 01603 497711.

Do you have an education story? Email education correspondent Martin George at or


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