The Government in England is asking former teachers who have the skills and time to return to the classroom to sign up from today.
The Omicron variant is expected to continue to cause increased staff absence levels in the spring term, and some local areas may struggle to find sufficient numbers of supply teachers available unless former staff come forward.
It remains important the same comprehensive checks go ahead as they always would for anyone working with children. Potential teachers are therefore encouraged to get the process started as soon as possible and ideally before Christmas Eve to be ready to join the workforce from January.
Those who are recently retired, or trained as a teacher and moved career, are asked to consider whether they can find even a day a week for the spring term to help protect face-to-face education.
Targeted communications will begin to go out from today across a range of government, stakeholder and direct channels to encourage those eligible to apply.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said:
It has been my absolute priority since day one in the role to do everything in my power to protect education – which is why today I am asking any teachers no longer in the profession to come forward if they are available to temporarily fill absences in the new year.
Although 99.9% of schools have consistently been open this term, with cases of Omicron increasing we must make sure schools and colleges have the teachers available to remain open for face-to-face education.
Anyone who thinks they can help should get the process started now on the Get Into Teaching website, and everyone should get boosted now to help reduce the amount of disruption from the virus in the new year.
Supply teacher agencies across the country will continue to manage local supply and demand to help make sure schools and colleges do not need to close as a result of a lack of staff.
Former teachers are encouraged to approach those agencies identified on the signup page as being registered on the Government’s framework. This guarantees fair business practices and the agency’s support in completing pre-employment checks to ensure they can be placed in schools and colleges as soon as possible, but those eligible can approach any agency they prefer.
The Government is providing social media and communications support to schools and colleges, trusts, local authorities, teaching unions, supply teacher agencies, and sector organisations such as Teach First to help them engage with their networks and contact databases to reach those who are most likely to be able to answer the Education Secretary’s call.
The Government will also be working to reach former teachers through its own communications channels, including through Get Into Teaching, the Teacher Pension Scheme and internet search advertising.
Department for Education staff eligible to come forward will be released to do so, as long as they are not working on the Department’s own covid response.
The Disclosure and Barring Service has confirmed it will be ready to meet any spikes in demand for its service, continuing to meet its current turnaround times of 80% of Enhanced Checks issued within 14 days, of which 30% are issued within a day.