Give us back our funding or we can't recruit teachers, charity tells government

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

The founder of a successful education charity that lures high-flying professionals into teaching urged the next government to start funding it again or it will not survive.

Former journalist Lucy Kellaway who founded Now Teach said the charity is only able to continue because wealthy benefactors stepped in after the Department for Education unexpectedly cut its funding - despite it successfully recruiting more than one thousand older professionals into teaching.

Ms Kellaway, 64, who retrained as a teacher seven years ago and worked in Mossbourne Community Academy in Hackney, said the charity has enough money for around two more years, but insisted that whoever wins the election must reinstate taxpayer funding.

She told The Times: “The rich people aren’t saying, ‘Here’s this money forever.’ The rich people are stepping in saying, ‘The government is insane. If the government won’t support you, we will for now.’ They are saying, ‘We will give you some money to tide you over.’ We shouldn’t be subcontractingteacher recruitment to wealthy philanthropists.”

The “nuts” decision to remove Teach Now’s annual £1.4million funding came in the middle of a teacher recruitment and retention crisis.

Ms Kellaway said: “It came out of the blue. We had had good relationships with the Department for Education. We were beating our targets. Then our CEO was called into a meeting and told that they would not be renewing the career changer contract. It meant that within two years we would be dead.”

In only one month enough philanthropists, foundations and wealthy donors stepped in to keep the charity going for another two years.

Ms Kellaway said the problem of recruiting and retaining teachers is the gravest threat facing the education system.

Last year nearly two-thirds of Now Teach recruits taught Stem (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, which are suffering the most severe shortages.

Ms Kellaway said she thinks there are thousands of older professionals who are bored in their jobs and ready for a new challenge or to give something back to society and could become teachers.