School Recruitment Service Mark 2 announced

Yesterday, at the Public Accounts Committee, a senior civil servant announced the date for the DfE’s latest foray into the world of teacher recruitment. The DfE’s version of a vacancy service will go on trial in the spring. Over the past two months, I have written a couple of posts about the development of this service, first mooted in the 2016 White Paper and then, somewhat surprisingly, rating a mention in the 2017 Conservative General Election Manifesto. In the meantime, the DfE has been quietly beavering away designing their service.

With political backing of this nature, such an idea wasn’t going to be ditched easily, unlike the plans to offer middle leaders to struggling schools, unceremoniously dumped this time last year. So, I am not surprised by the latest announcement.

As regular readers will know, I chair TeachVac, the free service for schools and teachers that has been up and running for the past four years with no government aid and is now the largest platform by number of vacancies for teacher vacancies in England. More recently TeachVac has expanded to handle vacancies in international schools around the world through TeachVac Global

As TeachVac is free to everyone using it is England, competition from the DfE doesn’t both us; although I do wonder about the size of the DfE’s budget that will be needed to ensure the new product doesn’t follow the route to oblivion of the School Recruitment Service that was established and then scrapped a decade ago. Perhaps someone could ask a PQ or submit an FOI to find out how much money they aim to spend on marketing the trial next spring?

For paid providers of recruitment services, whether, either just vacancy advertisements or through recruitment services and teacher placements, the threat to their profits is more real. You only have to look through the accounts posted on the web site of Companies House to see how valuable teacher recruitment has been over the past few years and why the government might have wanted to offer an olive branch to schools by providing a free service at this time so many schools are strapped for cash.

As I pointed out when starting TeachVac, such a service, like TeachVac, also helps satisfy the National Audit Office’s remarks about the lack of data available to the DfE about the teacher labour market. What they will do with the data they will obtain we won’t know until 2020 at the earliest, as 2019 will be the first full year they will be able to obtain data for a whole recruitment cycle. However, by then Ministers won’t be able to fall back on just the data from the School Workforce Census.

TeachVac, now covers all schools state funded and private – I wonder whether the DfE will offer their service to the private sector – as it does with access to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme – or restrict it only to state-funded schools thus offering a lifeline to paid services.

I will post more when I have read the transcript of yesterday’s Public Account Committee hearing where the announcement was made.


6 thoughts on “School Recruitment Service Mark 2 announced

    • Janet,

      Thanks. Any views on a Tory government going into the recruitment business at the possible expense of private sector profits? Presumably, Corbyn’s Labour Party is encouraging this type of activity by government and Labour local authorities will be clamouring to sign up for the service?


      • My understanding is that the DfE vacancy database, offered free to schools, will advertise vacancies (obviously) but not recruit in the way recruitment agencies do. The latter can be very expensive.
        The go-to publication for teaching vacancies used to be TES. I haven’t read the print version for a couple of years now but when I used to subscribe it used to clunk through the letterbox and fall to the floor like a rock. It was stuffed full of vacancies.
        I found my first teaching job via the local press. It was only because the advert for appeared week after week that I realised the school was having difficulty filling the post and I might stand a chance. I was right – the first question wasn’t about my teaching experience (none – I’d completed teacher training three years previously and hadn’t taught) but whether I’d had a TB vaccination (compulsory for teachers back then). When I said yes the head asked, ‘When can you start?’

      • Janet,

        But it could affect recruitment agencies going round signing up teachers and trainees to offer to schools if everyone was persuaded to advertise a vacancy first and the idea of offering to find a teacher for a placement fee was outlawed until other routes had been exhausted.

        Were you required to have a chest X-ray as well? Stamping out TB among teachers was presumably an effective way restricting the spread of the disease although by the 1970s it had been all but eradicated in the UK. I too, in December 1970, was asked ‘can you start in January, and I had had no training at all. My teaching in the first year was terrible.


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