TWO Dorset teachers used the Covid lockdown to walk away from their careers and retrain as a teacher.

According to a survey commissioned by Now Teach, more than 1.6million people in the UK have now thought about becoming a teacher, despite not considering it before lockdown.

Jon Elliott, 45, a year one teacher at Jewell Academy was made redundant from his job as a recruiter in the pharmaceutical industry in October 2019.

He said: “I managed to find another job, however I was not due to start until after the Christmas period and so I used my time to help at my child’s school.

“Seeing the difference I was able to make in helping the children to progress was rewarding and it was a lovely experience.

“Six weeks into my new role we went into lockdown and I remember thinking there had to be a more productive way of using my time.

“I discussed how I was feeling with my wife, Melissa, and she encouraged me to think about making the switch into teaching.

“I started looking into teacher training and discovered that because I already have a business degree, I could complete a one-year PGCE course which I did at St Mary’s in Twickenham.

“I spotted a vacancy at Jewell Academy in Bournemouth and knew it was the perfect school for me as Alexandra Waddington, the Principal, and I have the same views when it comes to education: With a school everything has to be about the child.

“Teaching is every bit as rewarding as I imagined it to be. The opportunity to change the lives of children for the better is what it’s all about for me.”

Katherine Chivers, 29, traded working in customer service in insurance for teaching English at Magna Academy.

She said: “I can vividly remember the day I decided to change the course of my life: I had taken a particularly abusive call from a member of the public and at the end I put the phone down and started filling in my application form for a teaching degree.

“I started my course at Southampton University in September 2019, just before Covid-19 hit.

“I started my training at Magna Academy in January 2020 and as soon as I walked into the school, I had that feeling of belonging.

“Every time I teach a class and I see the spark in a child’s eye when they’ve understood something, that for me is why I went into teaching.”