Yes, There Is Life beyond the Gates; Teaching: The Hunt Is on for Teachers Who Want to Develop Skills outside the Classroom

By Crockett, Kate | The Evening Standard (London, England), January 28, 2003 | Go to article overview

Yes, There Is Life beyond the Gates; Teaching: The Hunt Is on for Teachers Who Want to Develop Skills outside the Classroom


Crockett, Kate, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: KATE CROCKETT

DEMAND for skilled professionals in all areas of education is at an all-time high, and experienced teachers are being sought inside and outside the classroom. The hunt for talent has opened up a wealth of opportunities for teachers keen to expand their skills beyond the school gates. There have never been more opportunities for those who want to work in a more flexible way, or who wish to boost their employability with additional skills gleaned from different areas of education, be it examining or special-needs teaching.

Mike Emmott, an adviser on employee relations for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, says: "It's pretty hard to recruit young people into teaching, and if you can't get youngsters in the profession it means those already there have got more choice." While there is "little evidence", he says, of a general shift to portfolio working in the UK, the number of education professionals choosing to build a raft of experiences and skills in the sector is likely to increase.

Christine Flynn, an experienced secondary school teacher from north London, is one such professional. Flynn, 56, worked for 10 years as a fulltime IT and maths instructor before leaving to do a combination of infant and nursery teaching, and examining.

She now works up to three days a week as a supply teacher for Select Education in Barnet, Enfield and Islington. In May and December, she marks international baccalaureate and GCSE exam papers. She also recently set GCSE IT questions for a Singapore exam board.

"I am qualified as a secondary teacher in information technology, for which there is a big shortage. So, I could get plenty of work doing that, but I thought I'd try different things," she says. "I had a go at special needs teaching, which was quite interesting, and also infant and nursery. I have a large family of my own - eight children and four grandchildren - so I find that very congenial.

"Some days I go into work and some days I don't," she adds. "It's ideal for me and it seems to be working very well. Because there is a shortage of teachers in London, I know that any day I want to work they [Select] can find me plenty. I like the freedom and it suits me in my time of life."

She adds: "It sounds very good, but I am able to do this because I'm not financially pressured. …

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