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Research shows professionals moving from private sector into teaching experience significant levels of frustration

Professionals moving from the private sector into teaching experience ‘significant levels of frustration’ with a perceived lack of acknowledgement from colleagues about the ‘added value’ they bring to the role, according to research led by Dr Chris Wilkins (pictured) in the School of Education.

The study, published in the British Educational Research Journal, identifies that while ‘elite’ career-changers (ECCs) entering Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in England are generally motivated by altruism and a sense of civic duty, they also experience significant levels of frustration with a perceived lack of acknowledgement from colleagues and school leaders of the potential ‘added value’ contribution they could make at a wider institutional level.

Dr Chris Wilkins said: “Many governments, including the UK government, have made a significant investment in attracting people to switch career from ‘elite’ fields such as banking, law and medicine into teaching in an effort to improve the quality of entrants. The rationale for this is generally that they bring ‘added value’ to the profession, both through their personal qualities and bringing a different perspective from their previous careers into schools. 

“However, in our study most of the teachers felt that their colleagues and school leaders were not particularly interested in them sharing expertise and perspectives from previous careers – and in some cases felt that there was a degree of distrust about their motives for changing career, particularly those coming from the private sector. This led to a sense of ‘missed opportunities’."

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