Suppliers are being sought to bring as many as 4,000 teachers into the further education sector by 2025, as part of an expansion to a major recruitment scheme.

The Department for Education has launched a tender, worth £3 million, for national delivery partners for the Taking Teaching Further programme, which was earmarked for an expansion in the Skills for Jobs white paper last month.

“Given the wider economic importance of FE in raising skills levels and providing a passport to opportunity for young people and adults, particularly through apprenticeships and T Levels,” the prior information notice reads, “we need sufficient numbers of highly skilled teachers in place to deliver high quality, work relevant skills training”.

There is “a very real need” for recruits to have industry expertise and “excellent” teaching skills, as this “is paramount for delivering first-rate FE teaching,” the notice adds.

The first three rounds of the Taking Teaching Further pilot, which has been run by the Education and Training Foundation between 2018-19 and 2021-22, offered places to 150 teachers across the first and second rounds, and 550 places were available for round three.

We need sufficient numbers of highly skilled teachers in place to deliver high quality, work relevant skills training

Last Thursday the DfE announced round 4, to support a further 550 places with the full costs of undertaking a Level 5 teaching qualification, reduced teaching workload and other support, such as paired teaching and mentoring in the first year of teaching. A spokesperson for the Education and Training Foundation said they will make more information available in due course.

As the programme expands, the DfE anticipates there could be around 1,000 places on offer in the first year of this contract (round 5) and this would rise to 4,000 by 2025 (round 7).

The three-year contract start date has been set for April 2022, but the prior information notice says it could begin as soon as this December, and it also leaves the option open for the DfE to expand the contract to March 2026.

Organisations which have delivered similar funding programmes are being asked to come forward by the DfE, which is also inviting suggestions and feedback on the proposed content and structure of the programme.

Taking Teaching Further works by funding providers to recruit teachers, and according to the notice, the programme is constructed of a mix of ‘training while teaching’, part-time study, as well as mentoring and work shadowing with a reduced workload in the first year of teaching so recruits can train.

Delivery partners will hand out funding to providers, secure take-up, and provide additional support, including helping to promote the programme.

The much-anticipated Skills for Jobs white paper set aside an entire chapter to discuss plans for expanding and upskilling the further education teaching workforce.

It promised a “significant” new investment in the FE workforce in 2021-22, claiming it would take the total investment in that area to over £65 million.

It also revealed there would be a national recruitment campaign to highlight the benefits of a career teaching in further education, targeted at “high-potential graduates and experienced industry experts”.

A tailored professional development offer for apprenticeship teachers and lecturers, and the introduction of employer-led standards for initial teacher education were also promised.

The DfE will be running a market engagement event for the Taking Teaching Further expansion in the week beginning 22 February. Those wishing to attend have been asked to email

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  1. These initiatives are all very well, but until the Government funds FE properly the sector will always have issues recruiting and hanging on to teachers, many good college lecturers now work in schools where they get anything up to a 20% premium for doing essentially the same job !

  2. George henning

    Instead of pretty useless gimmicks like this how about a novel idea give the money wasted on these quangos and their bloated administrations to colleges so they can offer decent pay and attract in high calibre staff. Too simple I guess better to waste the money on the bureaucrats.

  3. An FE teacher recruitment initiative is great but it needs to be supported by a retention one! The ‘reduced workload’ will be swallowed up with cover and the teaching skills will be regularly assessed by a poor quality teacher looking to determine the extent to which teaching fits a narrow, prescriptive, misguided series of tick-boxes.

    Sadly, I’ve never seen such oppressive, inept leadership as is commonplace in FE.

    • Out of interest how can you make a sweeping statement about “poor quality teachers”?

      Ultimately there is an underfunding issue (why would a joiner work for 25k when they can earn 40/50k+ and not have a plethora of work to do at home?

      I would be interested to see if the AoC have looked for a set of additional funding is ring-fenced for teachers to be paid a decent salary, rather than being swallowed up by senior postholders; £434 headphones on expenses, anyone?

      • Jack Bowers

        Put simply – as a teacher you end up with a pension pot of at least £0.5m which a joiner wouldn’t and all the annual leave and get paid when you off on the sick !

        Plus – it is insulting to joiners and shows how totally out of touch you are with reality that joiners don’t work in an evening or at the weekend.

        That is why the sector is in so much trouble – totally out of touch with reality. I assume a lecturer doesnt have to worry where their next months pay cheque comes from (ie the state !)

  4. Christopher Odams

    After years of neglect, a recruitment plan will only work if there is an accompanying commitment to pay parity with school teachers. This is a priority but I have little faith in any government to take the appropriate actions. Only when marginalisation of FE ceases will this sector thrive.

  5. Anita Price

    This initiative is all well and good, but how much of the funding will be swallowed up by bureacracy? How about increasing FE lecturer salaries in line with teachers? A national pay scale instead of each college setting their own scale would help. Many lecturers leave FE because of the low pay in comparison to school teachers. A more manageable workload would also help retain staff.

  6. I’m a maths teacher qualified from India. Taught mathematics in UAE for 13+ years and struggling to find a teacher job in London.
    Need to support Expatriate so that they can take initiatives for the same.

  7. If coming from industry, they will likely receive a significant reduction in pay.
    In addition, there needs to be less focus on FE teachers having degrees etc to teach certain subjects in FE. They come from industry and don’t necessarily have a degree. The problem in FE is chronic underfunding, huge workloads and high expectations. Learners come to FE because academia does not suit them. They have different motivations to learners doing A levels for example. With the expectation that young people have to stay in education until 18, having to achieve English and Maths etc unless in an apprenticeship, we have to offer our learners something suited to their needs. Sometimes this may be a course below GCSE level. We cannot be in the situation where FE just offers T Levels and apprenticeships. Many learners in FE are disadvantaged from challenging backgrounds who may not have achieved at school. There is much more diversity than in school which will include learners who may have been home educated or learners who have come from specialist provision. FE are judged in a similar vein to schools. They should not be as the challenges are much more extreme. I have worked in both FE and mainstream secondary schools and the issues in FE are much more complicated. FE is a second, third, fourth attempt for many learners. We should have high expectations but not set the bar too high. Timetables are challenging busy with no time to be innovative or creative. We need to change this.