Job swappers please parents

15th June 2007 at 01:00
They like teachers with out-of-school experience

WOULD YOU want someone who used to gamble on the international stockmarket teaching your children? Or someone who once cut up human tissue for a living?

A new poll of attitudes to career changers in the classroom has revealed most parents of secondary age children would say "Yes".

About three-quarters of the 1,300 parents surveyed said they would like to see more teachers who have had previous careers.

The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) says this is evidence of changing attitudes, as more enter the classroom and prove their value.

The poll, by YouGov for the agency, also revealed 43 per cent of headteachers would like to see more teachers with industry experience.

The majority of the 435 heads questioned said it was important to have a mixture of direct entrants and career swappers. Half of the heads said they accounted for one in 10 of their workforce.

Around one in six of the headteachers were career changers themselves.

Martyn Bayliss, the head of Holyhead school in Birmingham, which specialises in business and enterprise, offers on-the-job training to draw in recruits. He has a French teacher who was a former marketing director for Sony, an ICT teacher who used to work for Mercedes Benz and a former building society cashier who now works in the business school. Graham Holley, the chief executive of the TDA, said that "cross fertilisation" of knowledge was vital in the staffroom. He said: "You have the teachers who came straight out of college and those with experience from their previous careers. They talk together and can learn from each other."

Laura Warren, of the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations, and a school parent governor, said: "Without taking value away from younger newly qualified teachers, parents do look for teachers to have as broad an experience as possible."

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