Page last updated at 00:03 GMT, Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Downturn 'boosts teacher numbers'

Teacher and pupil
City bankers and finance sector workers are being targeted

There has been a huge increase in the number of people interested in becoming teachers since the start of the so-called credit crunch.

England's Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) has reported a 40% increase in recruitment enquiries to its website since last December.

And the latest figures show the TDA topped its recruitment target by 2%.

A spokesman said there was no doubt that the increased interest in teaching was down to tougher economic times.

The TDA has made a conscious decision to target anxious City workers who may fear for their jobs as a result of the downturn, visiting Canary Wharf and the City in October with the hope of tempting finance workers back into the classroom.

And it is planning to run further recruitment events over the next few weeks in England's financial heartlands in London and Birmingham.

Job security

The agency has been offering itself as a more reliable alternative to working in the financial sector.

The TDA said the share of trainees entering initial teacher training who are over 25 also rose in England since last year, by an eighth from 41.5% to 46.7%.

This may in part reflect the TDA's growing emphasis on the re-training of potential teachers from other industries.

And the number of those eligible to teach maths increased by 25% over the same period.

Earlier this year, TDA chief executive Graham Holley: "These are worrying and unstable times for everyone, and it may be that people are looking toward teaching as a secure as well as rewarding career."

Teaching has traditionally been a more popular career choice during recession - providing security when private sector jobs become more vulnerable.

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