The news that half of the new recruits into teaching are over 30 years old is welcome - up to a point. As Ralph Tabberer, the chief executive of the Teacher Training Agency, pointed out in an interview with The Independent, these recruits are likely to stay in teaching longer than those who enter fresh from university. They have made a career decision after serious thought. Many of them have tried a life in industry and found it unfulfilling. They also bring an understanding of life beyond the confines of education into the classrooms in which they teach.
The downside is that their recruitment does little to alter the problem of the demographic time-bomb that the world of education faces. At present, two-thirds of our teaching staff are over 40, and likely to retire over the next two decades. Recruiting thirtysomethings to replace them puts the problem off for another decade but no more. We still desperately need to persuade more students that teaching is a worthwhile career, and - once we have enticed them on to teacher-training courses - offer them an attractive enough package to persuade them to stay in the classroom.
There are hopeful signs in this direction, though. …