Returning to Teaching

The thought of returning to a career in teaching can be a daunting prospect; changes to the National Curriculum and technological advances can make you feel nervous about getting back into the classroom. You needn't worry because there is so much support out there to help you get back to teaching!

Get Into Teaching host free Return to Teaching events in a variety of locations across the country; you can access a list of the events here and these events give teachers thinking of re-joining the profession a chance to speak to experts and receive one to one advice.

Another option to help you on your journey is to do some voluntary work in a local school. Volunteering will help you get back into the school environment, give you the opportunity to talk to current teachers about their experiences and get up to date with the National Curriculum. 

For those of you who have secured a teaching role, contact the school to arrange some transition days before you start. This will break the ice with other colleagues and help settle your nerves before the big first day back.

If you are hoping to go back into secondary teaching you can complete subject specialism training in Maths, Physics and Modern Foreign Languages (French, German, Spanish and Mandarin). This free training is designed to improve the knowledge of non-specialist teachers and returning teachers. If you are interested, you'll find opportunities via You can also email if you have any queries. 

Other courses you can take to improve your subject knowledge are Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) Courses.  A local course provider is Canterbury Christ Church University providing online courses to students to help you fit your learning around your life. They are currently awaiting information from the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) regarding funding for these courses so watch this space! You can find the list of SKE courses available on their website.

If you feel your IT knowledge is in need of a refresh or you need to learn from scratch you can access free Functional Skills in ICT and Digital Skills qualification courses through Learndirect to get your computer skills up to date.

For further further advice, Get Into Teaching have a Freephone helpline 0800 389 2500 and an online chat service that you can contact for information and support. Don't let lack of confidence stop you from returning to a worthwhile and fulfilling career. 


For the majority of job roles, it is required you provide two references from your most recent jobs; one of them must be from your current employer. 

For those of you that have been out of work for several years, we recommend you volunteer in a school to gain current experience and ask the Headteacher to provide a reference. 

In addition, it is worth contacting the school you are applying at and explaining your situation as they may view your application and question why you have been out of work for a long period. It may be that you left teaching to start a family and in which case you can mention this.  

For those returning to a Headship position, this is slightly different. You are required to provide a Local Authority reference as well as a reference from your current or most previous school you worked at. 

The above are general guidelines; please read the references section for each job you apply for as they may vary slightly in terms of the number of references they require etc.  

For more information, visit the Department of Education website.

Have you read our advice on writing your reason for application to help you with your applications?

Comments are closed