Recruitment a key issue for school leaders

Earlier this week I attended the launch of The Key’s ‘State of the Nation’ Report. The Key’s Report looks at what is of interest and concern to school leaders. Perhaps not surprisingly, recruitment and retention off staff figure highly, although not in top spot. The analysis by The Key backs up TeachVac’s analysis in relation to the regional picture of where the greatest recruitment challenges are to be found: London and the Home Counties.

At the launch, Fergal Roche was kind enough to mention the expertise that the writer of this blog has built up in understanding the workings of the labour market for teachers. I am grateful for the public endorsement.

Anyway, we are now approaching the endgame for the normal recruitment round for vacancies to be filled at the start of the school-year in September. As we report regularly to schools that are signed up to TeachVac there are going to be problems again in September, this despite the government taking cash out of schools through increased pension and National Insurance contributions. As an aside, governments really cannot claim schools are fully funded if they do not recompense them for adverse changes in taxation since they are just paying money with one hand and taking it away with another. Unless that is this is an attempt to either force schools to employ less well paid staff or to substitute technology for people in the learning process.

But, back to the recruitment situation. Vacancies continue to run at a higher rate in London and the Home Counties than further north and west in England. For the second year in succession, Business Studies is the first subject to effectively run out of trainees across much of the country and school looking to appoint teachers in this subject may well need recourse to returners or the use of expensive agencies. Later this month we expect to warn that in both Geography and English there will be unlikely to be sufficient trainees to meet demand across the whole recruitment round. Design & Technology, or at least some aspects of the subject, will likely follow soon afterwards. These issues are, of course, on top of the perennial problems in subjects such as Physics, problems that are masked by schools advertising for teachers of ‘science’ rather than a specific scientific discipline.

Even though most schools will make it to September fully staffed, vacancies in January 2017 will be much more of a challenge to fill and schools may face the full effects of market forces and the inevitable rising price of acquiring teachers in shortage subjects. Schools that use TeachVac will, at least, know how bad the situation is when they post their vacancies. And, just a reminder, TeachVac is free to schools and operates a daily matching service.





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