Former retail worker turned-teacher in the North East encourages others to set their sights on the classroom

Published on behalf of SKV Communications

With the nation poised to head back to work after the festive break, new figures released today show January continues to be a popular month for people in the North East looking to switch into teaching as a career.

Expressions of interest from career changers in the North East spiked in January 2017 with 406 registrants, according to figures from the Get Into Teaching campaign.

Ashley Kell, a Design and Technology teacher from Shotton Hall Academy in County Durham, took the decision to leave her career in retail in 2015 to go in search of a more rewarding career. Ashley is now supporting the national Get Into Teaching campaign, by recommending other people in the North East consider making the switch.

Pictured: Ashley Kell

With over half a million (520,093) users, last January was also the month when most traffic was recorded on the Get Into Teaching website – where prospective candidates can find out more about teaching as a career and access support all the way through the application process. Analysis of these visitors supports the trend for New Year resolutions to be focused on career ambitions; the largest group came from people aged 25 to 34 and those already in full time employment.

Ashley, a Design and Technology teacher and local Get Into Teaching advocate, said:

“I’d always been intrigued by teaching and imagined it to be a very rewarding career. After seven years in the retail sector working my way from a sales assistant to a visual associate, I was quite bored of going to work to do the same thing every day and needed something which would excite me and give something back. Plus, I wanted to use my degree and felt I wasn’t doing this in that role. The idea of switching my profession was nerve-wracking, but it felt the right thing to do. I did my research, applied for the training, and haven’t looked back since.

“Teaching at my school in Durham really makes me proud and brings daily rewards. For example, I now have my own year 7 set group who I see every morning and greet me with a smile. I know I’ll be their tutor from now until year 11 and can already see the change in their demeanour since starting this big, scary school. From being anxious to now being quite content in secondary school, being able to offer answers in lesson and volunteer for a task is lovely to see.  I definitely made the right decision to change my career and would advise any other professionals who might be considering it to take the time to think about teaching this new year.”

March last year was also a peak month for career changers contemplating teaching in the North East – with 487 people working in other fields registering their interest, out of a total pool of 845.

Get Into Teaching is offering a package of support to help bridge the gap between candidates in the North East considering teaching as one of their resolutions, and actually registering their interest and applying. This includes a series of events, opportunities to get some classroom experience and tailored advice from teaching experts to help people through the application process.

Roger Pope, spokesperson for the Get Into Teaching campaign and Chair of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, says:

“Many of us will be making resolutions for 2018 – in fact we know from YouGov data that 15% of us will make one of those goals related to a career ambition. We also know that people take time over the Christmas holidays to think about what their day job means to them, and what they might be more motivated to do. That’s where teaching comes into its own – whether you’re driven by the rational or emotional, teaching really is unique. Every day you have the chance to change someone’s life. It’s such a meaningful role where you can go home at the end of every day feeling proud of what you’ve achieved.

“We know some career changers in the the North East take the plunge in January by deciding to take their skills into the classroom, whilst others might mull over on this important decision a little longer. It’s why we are running a series of events throughout the Spring term where people can find out about life in the classroom, the progression opportunities, competitive salaries and bursaries to help financially whilst you train. Anyone contemplating teaching should visit the Get Into Teaching website to find out more and register their interest.”

To support the latest generation of New Year career changers, a series of online and Train to Teach roadshow events are starting this month. On Wednesday 7 February, 4.30 – 8pm, there will be a Train to Teach roadshow event at Jurys Inn Middlesbrough, Fry Street, Middlesbrough, TS1 1JH. There will also be a Train to Teach event on 24 February, 1pm – 5pm, at Newcastle University, Great North Museum, Hancock, Barras Bridge, NE2 4PT. Online events this month include:

  • Monday 8 January, 6.30pm – 7.30pm: Introduction to teacher training
  • Monday 15 January, 6.30pm – 7.30pm: Change career to teaching
  • Monday 29th January, 6.30pm – 7.30pm: Gaining school experience

Career changers could get a £26,000 tax-free bursary to train as a teacher in key subjects including science, computing, geography and languages. This year candidates could get £30,000 to train to teach maths – a £20,000 tax-free bursary while training as a teacher and a further £10,000 after tax once in teaching. Alternatively, prestigious scholarships of up to £28,000 are available in priority subjects for graduates with a 2:1 or above who are passionate about their subject and have the potential to be teachers.

Applications to start teacher training in September 2018 are now open. For tailored advice and information about a career in teaching visit: or call the Get Into Teaching line on 0800 389 2500.

To find out more about the series of online and face-to-face events, visit:

For a list of bursaries and scholarships available go to:


About the National College for Teaching and Leadership

The National College for Teaching and Leadership exists to support the development of a self-improving, school-led system. We have two key aims: improving the quality of the education workforce, and helping schools to help each other to improve. An executive agency of the Department for Education, NCTL was created in April 2013 following a merger of the National College for School Leadership and the Teaching Agency. The agency provides a comprehensive programme of support to help graduates become teachers, providing guidance all the way through the application process.

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