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Could retirees help to solve the nation's teacher shortage?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by TES_Rosaline, Jul 6, 2015.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Education secretary Nicky Morgan believes that recently retired people could be the answer to solving the teacher shortage crisis.

    Ms Morgan would like to see more people go into teaching after spending most of their working life in another industry.


    She is not the only one who thinks that retirees could be an untapped resource to help plug gaps in key academic subjects. In an interview with TES last month, the educationalist and philosopher Baroness Warnock revealed her idea for a programme called “Teach Last”, which would bring retirees into the classroom as teachers.


    This would allow children to benefit from people who have a wealth of experience and still have the desire to work. However, Lady Warnock thinks that professional people would not have to become a full-time member of staff but could be shared between schools.

    Do you think this is a good idea? Could retirees be the key to solving the shortage of qualified teachers?
  2. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Is it a Government plan to help rebalance the age profile of the country? After all I imagine the life expectancy of retirees joining teaching in their late 50s/early 60s would be pretty short!
  3. ThereAreBunniesInMyHead

    ThereAreBunniesInMyHead Occasional commenter

    I am 33 and I feel burnt out after 8 years of teaching. Lordy knows how someone in their 60's would cope! I think that if an industry is unable to recruit teachers to fill roles, they need to tackle the reason why so many people are leaving, rather than come up with fumbled attempts to fill the roles with people who should be relaxing after a lifetime of hard work!

    Also, teaching is the sort of profession where you hone your craft over a period of many years. NQT's and those in their first couple of year's of teaching are still inexperienced and make many mistakes (for the most part!). It is only by taking several year groups through from start to finish, that you learn what works and what doesn't in terms of content, structure and behaviour management. This can take many years for some teachers. If these retirees start teaching at the age of 60, then they could be in their 70's by the time they get it right (and that isn't down to their age, but just the nature of the job). I know I don't want to be teaching when I am 60. At this point, i'm not sure I will be teaching next year!
  4. There isn't a teacher shortage....the man from the ministry said so ... so we don't need this.
  5. It's a mistake to assume that everyone over the age of 50 is half dead. I started my PGCE when I was 56 and in September will be starting my tenth year in the profession, though down to 4 days a week. Don't think I would still be teaching if I had started 40 years ago - I have seen plenty of teachers bowed down by a lifetime in the profession. Teaching has certainly not been easy. It took me several years to feel confident in the classroom. Not sure I would be wiling to undertake it if I was starting now. However, teaching for me has been a relatively age blind profession. While I don't think returning retires are the solution to the teacher crisis, I do think the profession could make more use of older entrants. Another common prejudice among teachers is 'nobody except us can possibly do it'.
  6. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    No, it is not a good idea at all to bring back retired teachers into the classroom to cover the shortage. At the end of the day, they have already done 30-40 years service at the chalkboard, so why would they want to continue? Unless their pension is low and they want to 'top-up' their income or enjoy teaching and don't visualise it as an actual job, these are the only valid reason I can succumb to believe.
  7. fishcake

    fishcake New commenter

    Is it April 1st?
  8. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Nothing I hear from my old school makes me want to return.

    Some retired people from other professions could well have knowledge and skills of value to young people - they mostly would not cope with full on teaching as expected in most schools, and therefore wouldn't fill the gap.
  9. gregometer

    gregometer Occasional commenter

    I doubt very much that ex-teachers in their late 50s and 60s, after a few years of relaxed calm, pleasing themselves and extra long holidays, would want to return to a toxic environment of badly behaving pupils who can't or won't sit still and be quiet for five minutes, pupils who have no respect for anyone, who come to school with all kinds of baggage, a poorly defined and executed behaviour policy written by an invisible senior team, endless scrutiny of every single thing they are doing, working late into the night providing evidence of marking, feedback, comments on feedback, collecting data, putting data into spreadsheets, analysing data, drawing up targets, drawing up plans for pupils not hitting targets, having excuses ready for why pupils are not hitting targets, having special plans in place for pupil premium pupils, gifted and talented pupils and SEN pupils, having to do duties on top of teaching, but only having four hours a week free to plan and prepare lessons (so it has to be done in the evenings), the heads meeting, departmental meetings, focus groups and Inset, performance management targets, departmental targets, school targets and providing evidence that you are working towards all of those, dealing with parents, parents evenings, open evenings, options evening, doing duties in the isolation unit etc etc etc etc. Let's face it. It's a dumb idea that will rarely happen.

    If it were just plan, teach, mark, give verbal feedback to well-behaved students who want to learn, one tracking spreadsheet, one meeting a week, one duty, with a quarter of the day non-contact so you can plan and prepare properly, then yes, it would be a good idea.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
  10. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    The thing about retirees is that, if they were faced with all the nonsense of teaching that is current now, they could say 'on yer bike' and leave. Nothing keeping them there. So they might in fact have a role in returning teaching to the profession it was by simply refusing to co-operate with all the silly micro-management: "if you can't trust me to teach and do a proper job, then I'm out of here" and the choices would be either have teachers who are allowed to get on with it, or don't have teachers.
  11. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    I would certainly NOT want to return to this scenario!!! Everything that you have outlined, is EXACTLY how it is in teaching at the moment - not to mention the endless interventions/ early entry angst and jumping through hoops/ coming into schools in half terms and weekends/supporting endless writing and re-writing of coursework, endless meetings for the sake of meetings, SLT making sure you are kept in school/no time given for extra marking because your free periods are taken up with looking after badly behaved students who have been put out of their class of learning and need to be 'supervised', etc
  12. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    Perhaps the idea is to get these retired teachers back into the classroom, which would kill off quite a few of them, thus saving their pensions payments.
  13. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    It might be interesting for those of us who are retired to say just how much we'd need to be paid to get us to agree to return to the classroom...

    I wouldn't be interested for under 50K a year (equivalent) - and maybe not even for that...?

    How about you?
  14. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Having just got back from my post retirement holiday, I don't think I would want to go back. If my old school asked me to cover somebody for a few weeks, I would consider it, as I could just dig out my old plans. Otherwise, forget it. And I did actually enjoy the job, but I am enjoying retirement even more!
  15. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter


    If you have worked elsewhere and retired you'd be a good teacher. (Why would schools want someone who knows what they're doing?)

    If you've been in the armed services you'd be a good teacher. (As long as you can show where you've been the last couple of years. Safeguarding means Carers and SAHMs are a bit dodgy unlike people who may have been killing others).

    If you've been trained in another country you'd be a good teacher. (Otherwise you'd know how the education system works here).

    If you've trained as a teacher in the UK and have experience...you don't meet the criteria for getting a job...

    Okay, job hunting isn't going too well at the moment so I am a bit annoyed at yet another ruse to stop people like me gaining employment....(I do wonder sometimes why I should bother trying to get back into teaching).

    Apologies to anyone who fits the categories above. It just feels sometimes as if a trained, experienced teacher is the last thing schools want.
  16. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    I can't imagine many retires from other professions wanting to be teachers.

    If it does solve the shortage and people are not exploited / made ill I suppose it could be an idea.

    I would have edited my earlier post and toned it down but time window for calming down is rather short.
  17. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    This is not new. My parents are almost 80, retired mid/late 50s after 30 to 35 years of teaching, both in Britain and abroad. Within a year of so of them taking early retirement the suggestion was being mooted around that 'the solution to a lack of teachers was to recruit from retired and ex teachers'.

    I don't think I heard my father ever laugh harder... He was incredulous at the idea that anything would ever inspire him to put himself through that kind of stress again, and at his age. (My father, btw was an outstanding teacher with no discipline issues. He still couldn't face the thought of returning to the stress of dealing with SMT and the hideous workload.
  18. gregometer

    gregometer Occasional commenter

    Dear Nicky

    I don't quite know what you are doing to earn your salary (which my taxes are paying for):


    Over 12 months have gone by since the so-called 'workload challenge'. And the result, Nicky, is that you declared: "We have also taken decisive action to address some of the biggest concerns raised".

    Really? So your idea of 'decisive action' in the last 12 months is to convene yet more meetings with yet more professionals to discuss yet again the same ol' issues that are making the classroom the last place in the world where any sane adult would willingly choose to be if they could find an alternative way to pay the bills. You are in a dinghy, Nicky, sailing into a perfect storm of rising student numbers and declining teacher numbers.

    Why oh why does it take you 12 months to convene more meetings? Why are you having those meetings discuss what you already asked 12 months ago? Why are banging on about you taking 'decisive action' when the reality is you have done nothing, when my workload has gone up in the last 12 months. This year, for example Nicky, I have to provide written evidence and on-going reports of every single thing I do to help the considerable number of Pupil Premium students I help, every single one of the gifted and talented ones I help and also the SEN students. That's about 120 students out of the 330 I teach each week. I didn't do this last year, but some bright spark in SLT has decided that they needed evidence of the help they provide for the next OFSTED visit, so that means all us teachers now have an extra 4 or 5 hours of work to do a week (about 2 - 3 minutes of time per pupil per week). Nothing I used to do has gone away. No time has been been made free so I can do this extra chore. And meanwhile, Nicky, you convene more meetings and have more discussions. I have been teaching two years and I am seriously considering leaving this profession. I don't have time for the children because I'm so busy collecting data. I'm exhausted, all the time, I rarely get to see my own friends and family and I don't have a life. I know this job is not good for my mental health.

    No one has got time for this rubbish any more, Nicky. Stop speaking. Start taking action. Put a cross-selection of educational professionals in Parliament's subsidised tearooms on a wet Sunday if you must, but they will not come out with any other earth-shattering revelations than before.
  19. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    That's a bit much isn't it? These new groups have already agreed their terms of reference - to talk about ideas on workload. And they've even agreed a date for another meeting. I'm sure that within just 3-4 years they will have produced a report about what should be done. Which is that every school should be turned into an academy as it is those freedoms to explo...to er hire anyo.. um, to innovate how they see fit which is what will lead to pockets being...to less workload.

    Though how to make extra profits from hiring retirees is harder. Maybe if you hired them for one day a week, term time only contracts and then gave them loads and loads of work that would work.
  20. drek

    drek Star commenter

    I have a feeling that the new workload initiative will involve more hours after school, attending training courses on mindfulness, how to avoid brain fog and then filling in surveys thanking management for the opportunity to improve myself, by spending more time at work.
    I saw a full page ad for a brain fog avoidance course in the local paper. Seriously!
    The course suggested that brain fog is a 'condition' caused by over exhaustion and stress, a fact I do not dispute, but then asked people for money to find out how to lessen this load. Are you kidding me?

    There is normal work stress which is actually a good thing, prevents apathy, but anything causing brain fog is out of the control of the individual worker!

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