South Yorkshire teacher backs campaign

Teacher Andrew Sykes
Teacher Andrew Sykes

A teacher who returned to the classroom after five-months out cycling in Europe is backing a campaign to encourage more people back to the profession.

Andrew Sykes, 46, spent ten months away from the classroom then returned to teaching with the help of Barnsley-based recruitment specialists Provide Education, who can help those who have taken much longer absences back in to the profession.

The modern foreign languages teacher cycled 8,000 miles on his pushbike from one end of the continent to the other. 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 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 across 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.

His travels helped him to improve his language skills and gain life experience, he said.

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

Currently, about five per cent of teachers on Provide Education’s books have returned to the profession after a significant time away.