Back to school for Andrew

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A teacher from Halifax who has returned to the classroom after a five-month cycling adventure in Europe is supporting a campaign to encourage more people back to the profession.

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

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.

After 10 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 2,000 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, 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 have contact with so many schools I was able to teach in Barnsley as well as West Yorkshire.”