Yorkshire teacher returns to classroom after European adventure

4 April 2016

Provide Education teacher Andrew SykesA Yorkshire teacher who has returned to the classroom after a five-month cycling adventure in Europe is backing a campaign to encourage more people back to the profession.

Andrew Sykes, who lives in Stainland near Halifax, has gone back into teaching at secondary schools in Yorkshire after cycling 8,000 miles from one end of the continent to the other. He had just his pushbike, known as Reggie, for company.

After ten months away from the classroom in total, Andrew returned to teaching modern foreign languages with the help of Brighouse-based recruitment specialists Provide Education. He is now backing their campaign to encourage more teachers back to the chalk face.

Provide Education work with over 2000 teachers to help them find supply teaching posts – and sometimes permanent jobs – in hundreds of schools across South and West Yorkshire and East Midlands.

Currently, about five per cent of teachers on their books are those who have come back to the profession after a significant time away, and they are now calling on more teachers who have taken a break to return to the classroom.

Andrew, aged 46, registered with Provide Education on his return from his travels last August and was back in work in time for the start of the autumn term in September.

He said: “What’s great about teaching is that it’s something you can always go back to. A bit like riding a bike, you never forget how to do it.

“The team at Provide Education were very friendly and approachable. They were very thorough and made the whole process simple and efficient.

“They found me work straight away and because they have contact with so many schools I was able to teach in Barnsley as well as West Yorkshire, which was a really useful experience.”

Andrew’s career break took him first to a language school in Spain, where he studied Spanish for a month. His two-wheeled journey then began from Tarifa, at the southern tip of the country, and took him through France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Sweden before finishing at North Cape, the most northerly point of Norway. 

Andrew says his travels have benefited him as a teacher as he has been able to improve his language skills as well as gaining life experience.

He added: “In my opinion the best teachers are ones that take a holistic approach so the experiences gained from taking a break can be really helpful when you go back to the classroom.”

Andrew previously spent 15 years as a teacher in the south of England, before returning to Yorkshire after his travels and being helped back into the profession by Provide Education.

Their support package includes help with registration plus training to update them on changes to curriculum, technology, teaching practices and safeguarding.

Crucially, they can also help with re-building confidence through voluntary experience and shorter work opportunities – and offer moral support to get over any first day nerves.

Katie Buckle, director at Provide Education, said: “Not only has Andrew improved his language skills during his travels, he is also now able to share his experiences with his students and encourage them to do anything they put their minds to.

“Andrew had a relatively short time away from the classroom, but others may have spent years, or even decades, in another profession.  It’s understandable that some former teachers considering coming back to the profession may be nervous, but we have a great track record of helping them back to the classroom and supporting them throughout the process.”

Andrew is currently writing a book about his cycle across Europe, which will be published later this year.


Notes to editor

Attached photograph shows Andrew Sykes during his travels in Europe.

For more information, contact Katie Buckle on 01484 722705 or e-mail directors@provide-education.co.uk

Additional media contact: Mary Ferguson on 01226 766900 or at mary@capitalbmedia.co.uk

Provide Education also has offices in Barnsley serving South Yorkshire and Worksop covering the East Midlands.

They work with schools, colleges, children’s centres and nurseries and have teachers, special educational needs specialists, nursery nurses, cover supervisors, teaching assistants, exam invigilators, office administration staff and cleaning staff on their books. Some of Provide Education’s candidates find permanent jobs through their supply teaching experience, whilst others are committed to supply teaching long-term as a career option.  The company aims to provide a two-way service helping schools to fill positions quickly and safely and supporting teachers and other education sector staff to find jobs in the sector that suit them perfectly.

To find out more about Provide Education, visit www.provide-education.co.uk

This press release was prepared by Capital B Media, a public relations and media training agency based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. For more information, please visit www.capitalbmedia.co.uk 

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