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With UK nations failing to hit teacher recruitment targets, and more teachers leaving the profession, education leaders are calling out the risks this poses, such as an overworked profession struggling to deliver for all learners. Individuals report why they wish to teach; to make a difference, to work with young people, or love of their subject (Perryman and Calvert, 2020). So, why aren’t these enough to attract new teachers? This blog post focuses on the benefits of two new routes into teacher education introduced in Wales.

Policy initiatives, such as the early career framework and the ITT market review, are suggested to negatively contribute to teacher shortages (Innes et al., 2023). People’s decisions to teach can be influenced by their view of the profession (Lowes-Belk, 2023), while a lack of flexibility in teachers’ roles is also a career-turn off in a post-pandemic workforce which offers agile working. But perhaps the main reason is the cost-of-living crisis which means aspiring teachers cannot afford to train. Keen for a solution, the Welsh government introduced two flexible routes into teaching in 2020. These routes are part-time or employment-based, and provide options for individuals otherwise unable to achieve their ambition to teach, as they continue with work or caring commitments and/or receive an income while studying.

Even though it is proposed that Welsh education reforms offer ‘a newfound sense of optimism’, particularly as there is an increase in teachers’ autonomy in their role as curriculum designers, recruitment and retention challenges prevail (Evans, 2022, p. 389). Reform is targeted at shortage subjects, (such as Maths), and at rural schools and those in areas of high disadvantage which face recruitment difficulties, and also at addressing the lack of teachers of colour (Davis et al., 2023).

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