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Call for retired teachers to re-enter profession to help with Covid disruption
EB News: 25/11/2021 - 09:21
Education staff provider New Directions Education is appealing to teachers and education staff who may be retired or taking a break from the sector to go back to school and help address staffing shortages caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thousands of education professionals are being deployed into classrooms every week to help minimise the combined impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) and this winter’s flu season on schools.
New Directions Education has continued to place over 3,000 education staff into work on a weekly basis to help reduce the disruption pupils face due to COVID-19 and flu-related staff absences, however schools still need more staff.
The specialist recruiter therefore is appealing to teachers and education staff who may be retired or taking a break from the sector to go back to school and help address staffing shortages.
Kelly Storer, National Manager at New Directions Education, said: “It’s no secret that the UK education sector is under extreme pressure, and we’re seeing first-hand how hard Headteachers and their staff are working to minimise the impact of COVID in their schools.
“They’re under impossible circumstances with staff having to isolate or take time off due to other illnesses, especially as we’re also experiencing one of the worst flu seasons we’ve seen in a while, so we’re doing everything we can to provide all the staff they need.”
“That’s why we’re calling on everyone in the education sector who can work more days, or who may have taken a break or retired from the sector and can come back to help, even if it’s just for a day or two, to get in touch,” Kelly added.
“We have work for teachers, learning support assistants, teaching assistants, cover supervisors and administrative staff throughout the country.”
Some schools have reportedly been at ‘tipping point’ in recent times due to a lack of staff, with the UCAC union warning self-isolation due to COVID-19 had exacerbated a supply teacher shortage that existed before the pandemic. Gary Williams, Group Sales and Business Development Director at New Directions, said: “In all my 25 years in the sector, I have never seen demand as busy as this.”
“Since the schools returned to face-to-face learning, we’ve been reaching out to our network of education professionals to ensure we could provide enough staff to support our schools’ catch-up programmes. As a result, we already have a number of retired teaching professionals who have returned to work for a few days a week, but we need to reach out to more people.”
“It’s been great seeing a number of our previous teachers back in work, and we’ve made sure to make all sorts of arrangements to help them enjoy the best of both retired and working life, allowing them to balance family and social commitments that inevitably come with retirement too,” Gary added.
“It also means that retired education professional after so many years in the sector can continue to stay in their field and most importantly put their skills and experience to use,” Gary added.
Sue Lake is one of the retired teachers who has returned to work with New Directions Education. Based in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Susan teaches part-time and her schedule is suited to her personal commitments.
“I retired years ago but I returned to teaching one or two days a week, which fits perfectly around looking after my grandchildren. COVID has been really challenging for schools, so to help ease the pressure they face with staff shortages is a huge plus” she said.
“I love teaching and being back in schools has been great to keep me active and connected to so many lovely people. I’d really encourage other retired teachers to consider it too, especially at the moment.”
The 2021 Teacher Wellbeing Index, an annual report by charity Education Support in conjunction with YouGov, has found that teachers’ mental health is getting worse - not better - in several areas, compared to a year ago at the height of the Covid pandemic.