Eastbourne MP returns to teaching to help with staff shortages

The MP for Eastbourne will be heading back into the classroom to help cover classes hit by covid.

MP Caroline Ansell was a teacher before going into politics so she is responding to calls from the Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi for ex-teachers to help cover staff shortages caused by covid.

Mrs Ansell worked as a French teacher for a number of years before qualifying as a headteacher at the age of 36. She did not take a role in this profession though due to a shock diagnosis which led to her becoming a full-time carer for her son who had surgery to remove a brain tumour.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

She took a sabbatical year which included some time in a support role at Cavendish School in Old Town.

Caroline Ansell at Motcombe Community Infant School last month.

Eventually she moved into politics when she become the Conservative Party Councillor in May 2012.

Mrs Ansell will go to local schools in need of staff on Fridays in January and February, which is a constituency day, to help keep students in lessons.

Her surgeries and constituency work will not be affected as she will undertake those after school hours.

Mrs Ansell said, “As a qualified teacher committed to ensuring our children get the best possible education, I wanted to answer the Secretary of State’s call and help during what will be tough months for our education system in the new year.

“I have been really concerned about how the pandemic has disrupted pupils’ education and I fully support the government’s desire to keep schools open. If I can play my part in making that happen then I believe I should. Keeping schools fully operational is also critically important for parents and their work.

“I can only offer a Friday but I’m told by the supply agency that there is a need for teachers and support staff in every subject and age range and even being able to give only one day and only for a few weeks, is still very, very welcome.

“I am anticipating that no two days will be the same and looking forward to it. It will given me very valuable insight too which I will be sure to translate into action in Parliament.

“Our school staff are doing a brilliant job in very challenging times. I want to support them, support parents, and help protect young people’s learning and life chances.”

Mrs Ansell said the period after New Year will be ‘tough on all sectors’ due to people having to self isolate and ‘it’s vital we keep our schools operating in this time’.

She said, “I am very pleased to be able to play my part and will step up to anything asked of me.”

Mrs Ansell confirmed that her work as the town’s MP will have to take priority if, for example, parliament has to sit on a Friday or if there is a pressing issue she must attend to. She also stressed that money she receives will be donated back to the school.