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Four-day week attracts PhD graduates into teaching

23/02/2016 Joanna
A government-backed scheme which guarantees that recruits will only spend four days a week in the classroom is proving particularly successful for maths and science subjects.

The Researchers in Schools programme recruits graduates who have gained a PhD. They work four days in the classroom, then, on their fifth day, the teachers can do their own research, go to conferences to improve their teaching skills, or work with small groups of students – possibly from disadvantaged communities.

The project has three key aims for teachers on their fifth day: increasing their subject expertise, championing the idea of students aiming for university, and carrying out research in their field.

Simon Coyle, co-founder of the Brilliant Club, which devised the scheme, believes a similar approach adopted elsewhere in the system could make teaching more attractive. This could help to tackle the current teacher shortage in the UK.  

The scheme attracted 629 applicants in 2015, of which 77 became trainees in September of that year. The majority of applicants taught maths or physics and, of those who applied, 81 per cent said they were not applying through any other route to enter the profession.

"Long term, it might be applied elsewhere in the sector, possibly to address the workload issue," Mr Coyle said. "It does mean, though, that their teaching is more compressed into the four days to get the one day a week off."

The scheme is government funded until 2020 and targets non-selective schools spread across London, Kent, Somerset, Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester and Luton. 

Posted by Harriet McGowanADNFCR-2164-ID-801813230-ADNFCR
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