Older teachers stick with profession for longer

Mature graduates stay longer in
teaching than their younger counterparts, according to a report by the Open
University.

Whereas the national trend
shows that two in five teachers are leaving the profession after three years in
the classroom, an OU survey suggests that four in five teachers who trained on
their courses are either teaching or intend to teach three years after
graduation.

As nearly all of those who
qualify as teachers after OU study are mature students, this bucks the recent
announcement by Mike Tomlinson, chief inspector of schools in England, who
warned that up to 40 per cent of young teachers are leaving the profession
within three years.

Even after four or five years
in the classroom, most OU-trained teachers remain in teaching. In a recent
study of former OU PGCE students in the London area who graduated in 1996 and
1997, 89 per cent were still employed as teachers.

A further 74 per cent said they
anticipated continuing until retirement, or at least until
the age of 55.

OU researcher Elizabeth Bird
said, "We think the older entrant is likely to be more committed to the
profession and now we have evidence to suggest this.

"The data indicates that
mature trainees show a very high rate of entry to, and subsequent retention in,
the teaching profession."

By Phil Boucher

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