Campaign to get ex-teachers back into Essex classrooms returning for second round

Sabrina Smith, 34, who is a teacher at Layer-de-la-Haye Primary School after completing the Return t

Sabrina Smith, 34, who is a teacher at Layer-de-la-Haye Primary School after completing the Return to Teaching programme. Picture: ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

A campaign to get former teachers back into the profession in Essex is being re-run in a bid to tackle the shortage in the county.

Forty ex-teachers took part in Essex County Council’s free Return to Teaching programme earlier this year, with a number securing jobs within weeks of finishing.

Now the scheme is being run again by the authority in the hopes of enticing more back to the profession.

The course aims to help the teachers get up-to-date with the curriculum and best practice, and give them the confidence and support to go back into the classroom.

Among those in the first cohort were teachers who had left the profession after going on maternity leave.

Ray Gooding, county councillor for education, said: “We work closely with the county’s schools and actively support them with the challenge of teacher recruitment and retention.

“The first round of our Return to Teaching programme was extremely successful and I was very pleased that so many of the participants were successful in securing jobs.

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“A strong supply of good quality teachers is vital in ensuring pupils in Essex continue to receive the best possible education and attracting yet more talented teachers back to the profession would be another big boost.

“Whether people have taken time out to raise a family, pursue another career or for any other reason, our programme could give them just the help and support they need.”

The programme has been funded by a group set up to explore and implement teacher recruitment and retention in Essex, whose members include representatives from County Hall, the Association of Secondary Headteachers in Essex, the Essex Primary Headteachers’ Association, Essex Special School Education Trust (ESSET) and the Diocese of Chelmsford Vine Schools Trust.

Applications for the second round of the scheme must be made by Thursday, September 28.

For more information or to register visit

Case study

Among those to have successfully secured a job after completing the first Return to Teaching programme is Sabrina Smith.

Mum-of-two Sabrina, 34, left teaching in 2010 to have her first child.

Having subsequently relocated from Kent to Essex, the Return to Teaching programme came at the ideal time with her youngest child starting school this month.

After completing the intensive course, Sabrina secured a job at Layer-de-la-Haye Primary, near Colchester.

She said: “The Return to Teaching programme gave me the confidence I needed to apply for a position.

“As well as assessment and curriculum updates and how this might look in planning and teaching, the course leaders offered valuable advice about the application process and lots of encouragement.

“They reminded us that if we were good teachers previously, we would be good teachers again.

“I took that advice on board and applied for jobs I might otherwise not have done, and actively sought feedback.”

Sabrina, of Prettygate, Colchester, added: “I am very excited to have begun the new term this week and have found my colleagues to be very supportive.

“It will no doubt be a busy year, but it will be one full of challenge and possibilities.”

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