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Recruiters and schools get more creative to attract teachers

Wed, 20 Jan 2016
Classroom teaching

As the teacher shortage continues apace, recruiters and schools are offering perks including ‘golden hellos’ and ‘try before you buy’ schemes to help match talent with roles. 

The Telegraph this week reported schools were offering teachers corporate-style packages including gym memberships, childcare vouchers and signing bonuses in a bid to attract sought-after talent, particularly maths and English teachers.

While some recruiters have not seen evidence of this practice, suggesting it is not widespread, others have implemented their own schemes. 

PK education says it offers a ‘try before you buy’ approach with supply teachers to help schools fill permanent roles. The recruiter is encouraging teachers to consider roles outside their specialist subject area or in a failing school on a short-term capacity, usually a six to 12-week placement.

The education recruiter, which has seen an increase in permanent teachers moving to supply roles, says this is helping to keep skills in the industry, and can lead to long-term solutions for the schools.

Lee Carpenter, PK education director, said: “More often than not, they find they like the role and the school, and are happy to apply for and accept a permanent position.” 

According to education recruiter Eteach, which was quoted in The Telegraph’s story, other perks include:

• Vouchers for retailers Marks & Spencer and John Lewis

• Family healthcare packages, including dental cover and worth up to £2k annually

• Accommodation packages worth up to £20k for some locations

• Travel allowances such as free tube cards for London-based teachers, worth up to £2k annually

Andrew Preston, managing director of temporary labour procurer de Poel says golden hellos specifically are not new in the sector. Citing an IT, maths and science teacher shortage as far back as 2004, he says some new recruits were offered up to £4.5k.

Now, the firm is seeing £400 ‘hellos’. Such incentives are being extended to supply staff, as well as permanent, he told Recruiter.

Provide Education director Katie Buckle told Recruiter while the Department for Education already offered bursaries in priority subjects – science, maths and technology – schools were increasing starting salaries for the teachers in direct training places to encourage teachers into the profession within shortage areas.

However, monetary perks were not the only consideration for Buckle’s recruitment agency. It also looks to in-school teacher support networks.

“It is equally important they are offered additional support in terms of their workload,” she said.

But perks are not the only innovations brought about by the skills shortage. 

As the Guardian reported yesterday, Oxford University’s Professor John Howard, who has studied the teacher jobs market for 20 years, recently set up a free website, TeachVac, to help schools match vacancies with nearby teachers. 

And Teach First, a non-profit teacher training organisation, has launched a recruitment campaign to specifically target career changers to challenging schools. 

According to teacher news service tes, the charity has been developing a flexible training scheme and aims to recruit 1,800 people per year at early years, primary and secondary levels, including both recent graduates and career-changers.

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