Weir announces start of Investing in Teaching Workforce Scheme

Date published: 29 June 2016


A scheme to enable teachers aged over 55 to retire early and be replaced by recently qualified teachers will be launched at the start of the 2016/17 academic year.

The Investing in the Teaching Workforce Scheme had originally been announced last December and it was intended that the Scheme would launch in Spring 2016. However, plans were delayed following concerns in relation to the criteria for the Scheme.

Education Minister, Peter Weir said:

“It is clear that many new and recently qualified graduates have experienced the greatest difficulty in finding meaningful teaching positions. 

“As a consequence the Investing in Teaching Workforce Scheme has been developed to help graduates find permanent employment and to release those teachers aged 55+ who wish to leave the profession.

“I have had time to consider all the concerns raised and explore further options in relation to the criteria for recently qualified teachers who will be eligible to apply for the posts. On that basis, I have decided that the criteria will be extended to include graduates who have qualified since 2012 and I am pleased to announce my intention to launch the Scheme this September, on a pilot basis.” 

By extending the criteria it is estimated that up to 120 teachers aged 55+ will, at their own request, be secured for release from the teaching profession by the 31 March 2017. However, the timing of their release from the profession will be subject to the recruitment of a recently qualified teacher, in accordance with the criteria, and the circumstances for each school. 

Concluding the Minister said:

“This is very good news for those recently graduated teachers who are unable to find permanent teaching positions, This Scheme will  help to refresh the teaching workforce and share employment opportunities fairly between the generations. 

“Whilst I realise that this will be disappointing for graduates who are outside the criteria, without this Scheme these employment opportunities would not exist. Those not eligible to apply for the employment opportunities created as a result of this Scheme will be eligible to apply for the teaching job opportunities advertised each year; of which there have been over 750 meaningful job opportunities in each of the recent years.”

The Scheme is at an advanced stage of development and further information will be provided on the Department of Education website as it becomes available.

Notes to editors: 

  1. As part of the Fresh Start talks in 2015, the Executive agreed the Public Sector Transformation Fund (PTSF) was to be used for this Scheme. A total of £8million is being made available in 2016/17 for this Scheme.
  2. The 2016/17 Investing in the Teaching Workforce Scheme will operate on a pilot, and dependent upon the uptake and success, consideration will be given to submitting a bid to the Public Sector Transformation Fund for an Investing in the Teaching Workforce Scheme in 2017/18.
  3. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours, contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 99 715 440, and your call will be returned.

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