Bored bankers in their 30s and 40s who may be disenchanted with their job are being targeted to become science and maths teachers.
Teach First, the largest graduate recruiter, places thousands of new graduates into schools and has created Time to Teach for this older group.
Alongside bankers, computer programmers and engineers are also being targeted and encouraged to move out of cities.
The move follows a growing crisis for teacher recruitment in the UK with national targets being missed for five years.
Of all the subjects, the sciences and maths are struggling for recruits and only half of teachers teaching GCSE maths have either a science or maths degree with more teachers now being required to teach outside of their specialism.
There is a desperate need for good teachers
Teach First says it recruits up to 2,000 teachers every year but struggles to persuade most of these to leave big cities for the former manufacturing towns in northern England and impoverished coastal areas where there is a desperate need for good teachers.
The charity’s chief executive, Russell Hobby, said the aim of the project is to put teachers into schools where they are needed most, with subjects ‘that are in demand’.
He added: “Those who are switching careers are more likely to want to settle outside of cities and if you’re a brand-new physics graduate who gets a job offer from an investment bank, and who wants to work in London, then it’s hard for us to compete.
“But for someone who’s done that, had a good time now and is looking for a change, and is willing to teach physics or maths and move out of the city, then this is for you.”
Help modernise the teaching profession
Mr Hobby points out that teaching recruits who have at least a decade of experience of working in the private sector and government will help modernise the teaching profession – particularly in flexible working arrangements.
That’s because, he said, most professions offer a choice of working full- or part-time or as a job share, but this is less common in secondary schools.
Mr Hobby said: “Career switchers will look for flexible working and one of the things about getting an inflow from other sectors is that recruits will not put up with some assumptions about how to work.”
Under Time to Teach, recruits will need a 2:1 degree in a Stem (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subject and have a two-year commitment from Teach First to teach in a secondary school along with a mentor who comes from outside of the profession.
Begin earning immediately
However, unlike Teach First recruits who do not receive pay for training, Time to Teach recruits will begin their career as a teaching assistant and begin earning immediately with their second-year salary set to be at least £23,720.
Around half of Teach First’s recruits remain in the job beyond the initial two years, though it is hoped that this time span will grow for Time to Teach recruits.
Currently, around 30 career switchers will be recruited for the pilot project which begins next spring and this will rise to 500 in the next few years.