With staff being your most valuable (and expensive) resource, it’s worrying to recognise that schools are facing a staffing crisis. The government has failed to meet its teacher training recruitment targets for the past four years, and the number of teachers leaving the profession is reported to be at an all time high, with 25% of new teachers quitting after just three years.
Against this background, schools are finding themselves fighting over a fast-shrinking pool of good quality staff – so it’s essential that we get our recruitment act together now!
Recruitment should be viewed as a proactive element of raising standards, rather than a reactive response to a resignation. It should start before the school needs to appoint, and be prescribed within policy that includes a clear and consistent recruitment process structure.
The policy should be written within the context of strong market competition and highlight the importance of placing the right advertisement in the right place, to appoint the very best candidate. Since most potential candidates will also view your school’s website, make sure this is up to date.
When advertising, consider your audience. Who are you trying to attract? Ask colleagues where and when they would look for jobs. Many staff tend to look at vacancies towards the end of a week or term, so try advertising and pushing your vacancies around those times.
Make sure your advert stands out for the right reasons. Ensure the information is clear, accurate and professionally presented. Include a paragraph about the school that sells it as somewhere that staff aspire to work, perhaps for reasons relating to wellbeing, CPD, support services, clear career paths and so forth.
For positions that are harder to fill or more senior, the size, position and quality of your advert should reflect the importance you place on the job being advertised. This isn’t about cost, but investment.
Many schools advertise through agents such as Eteach, which works in partnership with organisations such as the ISBL, NAHT, ASCL and TES. These agents tend to be well-established and popular with job hunters but shop around for deals, as they can prove expensive.
Schools are also increasingly turning to collaborative enterprises such as Jobs In Schools. A web-based joint venture between a number of different academy and business manager groups, Jobs In Schools flags up job-related postings on social media. Members of groups which support Jobs In Schools enjoy free and unlimited use of the website.
Other suggestions include your LA and local media, but these will limit your audience. Many teachers and SBMs spend time proactively networking via social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn, so try placing your notice there. You can reach a wider audience, it’s free and SBMs tend to be good at sharing job ads across different network groups.
Once the process is over, review the success (or otherwise) of your advertising. Did that ‘special deal’ actually bear fruit, or was your social media approach more successful? Assess the costs spent versus results and record this to help inform your decisions the next time you need to recruit.
Nickii Messer is a school business leadership consultant and trainer