Retired and former teachers across the UK are now being urged to return to the classroom in the new year in a bid to help with staff shortages due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.
As the Omicron variant is expected to continue to cause “increased staff absence levels in the spring term”, the Department for Education (DfE) and Education Secretary has issued a plea today asking recently-retired teachers, or those who trained as teachers and changed career, to return to the classroom temporarily “to help protect face-to-face education”.
The government believes some local areas may “struggle to find sufficient numbers of supply teachers available”, unless former staff come forward to help.
The appeal comes as it’s being reported that some schools are already preparing for the possibility of online teaching next term, and even have told pupils to take laptops home in case of disruption after Christmas.
The Education Secretary has urged ex-teachers who are available to return to the classroom, to apply on the Get Into Teaching website.
In the plea issued by the government, it’s said that it “remains important” that the same comprehensive checks go ahead as they always would for anyone working with children, which is why potential teachers are being encouraged to get the process started as soon as possible.
They should ideally start the process before Christmas Eve to be ready to join the workforce from January.
“I am asking any teachers no longer in the profession to come forward if they are available to temporarily fill absences in the new year,” Mr Zahawi said.
“Although 99.9% of schools have consistently been open this term, with cases of Omicron increasing, we must make sure schools and colleges have the teachers available to remain open for face-to-face education.
“Anyone who thinks they can help should get the process started now on the Get Into Teaching website.”
He also added at the end of his plea that “everyone should get boosted now to help reduce the amount of disruption from the virus in the new year.
The government says that supply teacher agencies across the country will continue to manage local supply and demand to help make sure schools and colleges do not need to close as a result of lack of staff, and so from today, those eligible can expect to receive targeted communications encouraging them to participate.
The DfE is helping schools, unions, and supply teacher agencies to reach potential teachers through social media and other communication channels.
The government is also working with the teacher training programme provider Teach First for the mission to get former teachers back on board, with the company’s Chief Executive, Russell Hobby, adding: “Given the challenges that schools now face, we want to see what more can be done to help – including how we, and those of our alumni who have trained as teachers but currently work outside the profession, may be able to support schools to remain open safely in the new year.”
Former teachers should approach supply teacher agencies listed on the website, the government says, as they will manage local supply.
However, the launch of the appeal has not been received too well by some education unions and opposition parties.
Paul Whiteman – General Secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT – said: “Having a greater number of supply teachers to call upon could be helpful, but it will not take away from the very challenging circumstances schools find themselves operating under.
“We need to be very clear that if things get to this stage, it will mean that education will look very different in January and we could be talking about a very different type of provision at the start of next year.
“That has huge implications for things like exams, assessment and inspection.”
While shadow Schools Minister Stephen Morgan added: “This is a sticking plaster, and only part of what’s needed to keep children and staff safely in class next term.
Featured Image – Wikimedia Commons
Police appeal for information regarding ‘serious assault’ around Old Trafford before United game in October
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are appealing for fresh information on a “serious assault” committed around the Old Trafford area earlier this year.
GMP issued a press release on Friday, 9 December, asking for members of the public to come forward and share any details they might have on the attack carried along Seymour Grove in Trafford around 1:30pm on 16 October 2022.
They go on to explain that “a man in his 20s was assaulted by a group of unknown males” on the way to the game at Old Trafford, adding that “it is believed that the suspects were also attending the Manchester United vs Newcastle United match.”
It remains unclear whether or not the assailants were travelling fans in town to support the away side but GMP are looking to speak to the men pictured as they may be able to help with enquiries.
As detailed in the statement, “the victim suffered a severely broken jaw, a broken nose, numerous cuts to the face, and damage to the nerves of four teeth which he is likely to need further medical treatment for.” Terrible stuff.
The authorities are continuing to investigate the Seymour Grove assault after having followed up on a number of lines of enquiry since the incident took place and are now asking for the public’s help.
Anyone with information, or anyone who may have footage/images, or can identify the men in the photos, can contact Greater Manchester Police on 101, quoting log number 1589 on 16/10/22; or, alternatively use the Live Chat service HERE.
Alternatively, information can be shared anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Featured Image — Greater Manchester Police/David Dixon (via Geograph)
Football fans call out ‘tone-deaf’ FA TikTok for mocking ‘life-threatening’ head injury
Football fans are calling out the official FA Cup TikTok account for mocking a serious head injury suffered by a Stockport County player earlier this week.
The Hatters beat Charlton Athletic in fine fashion with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday, 7 December, with Will Collar’s hattrick (the club’s first since 2019) sending them through to the next round of the cup.
However, another notable moment from the night was right back Macauley Southam-Hales’ collision with advertising hoarders after a shove from Charlton captain George Dobson.
As the likes of County fan Joel Ward wrote on Twitter, many online were quick to slam the clip for joking about an injury that hospitalised the player, the consensus being that it isn’t a “great look” for the FA.
While many reacting in the comments recognised that Dobson didn’t intend to hurt Southam-Hales by shepherding the ball out of play, the Stockport defender does hit the predominantly metal structure with some force and was left in clear discomfort following the smash.
The video itself has since been removed from the official account following the backlash but people are still reacting as the clip continues to be reshared on social media.
The clip was branded as everything from “disgusting” and “disgraceful” to “simply unbelievable”.
What’s most concerning is that despite the recent push to promote awareness surrounding concussions, brain trauma and even heading the ball – which, historically, haven’t been properly monitored in football – whoever posted the video on behalf of the FA didn’t consider the very serious nature of the incident.
As alluded to above, perhaps what makes the post even more shocking and tone-deaf is that it comes just weeks after Bath City player forward Alex Fletcher was placed in intensive care following an almost identical accident.
The 23-year-old underwent life-saving brain surgery and although he has since been discharged from the hospital, he is said to have a “long road to recovery ahead of him”.
County confirmed that despite being the all-clear pitchside, Southam-Hales was taken to the hospital as a precaution after he suffered significant swelling around the neck area. Nevertheless, as we know all too well, it could have been much worse.
As for the FA, they have now apologised for the inappropriate attempt at humour, confirming that they have removed the video from all official accounts, admitting that “it should never have been published and assuring that they will “review [their] processes to ensure this never happens again.”
You can watch the full highlights from Stockport County vs Charlton Athletic HERE but we’d recommend you watch Alan Shearer reminding everyone who plays football to be more vigilant when it comes to head injuries.