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Three steps to attracting and retaining talented teachers

Mike Ruddle, director of Affinity Workforce, outlines best practice for attracting quality teaching staff into a trust

Posted by Julian Owen | November 16, 2018 | People, policy, politics

With education in the midst of a skills shortage, multi-academy trusts (MATs) are competing in a crowded marketplace to bring the best teachers into their schools.

When questioned as part of a survey conducted by Affinity Workforce, more than half (60%) of school leaders and those responsible for recruitment in schools reported that attracting high quality staff has become more challenging for their school in the last two years, and almost two-thirds (65%) said their current recruitment efforts are failing to produce enough high quality candidates.

These figures suggest that, in some schools at least, a fresh approach might be needed to attract and retain staff.

Here are my three top tips for injecting new life into your teacher recruitment campaign.

1. Become an employer of choice

Faced with a smaller pool of candidates, your MAT needs to stand out from the rest as a positive place to work.

Most schools and MATs have strengths which their staff, pupils, parents and communities are well aware of, but do prospective teachers see your trust as a good place to work?

When teachers were asked which factors are most important when deciding which school to work for, the reputation of the school as a good employer topped the list (95%).

Other factors which teachers consider vital when choosing a job are leadership of the school (94%), and high performance aspirations (94%).

To attract and retain quality staff, your MAT’s reputation as a first choice employer should come over loud and clear as part of an effective teacher recruitment campaign.

To attract the best candidates to your school, it’s important to have a long-term recruitment plan.

2. Understand your workforce's needs

Scrutinise the information available to you, such as details of staff turnover, recruitment costs and annual spend on supply teachers. This will help you to make informed decisions about how and where to target your budget so that you get the greatest return on investment.

More than half of the senior leaders (53%) questioned in the survey do not regularly review how much they are spending on supply teachers. Further, a quarter of schools aren’t measuring the overall cost of recruitment each year, or monitoring the rate of employee turnover in their schools.

For MATs, this information is essential for managing recruitment across a number of schools effectively. Knowing what your current workforce looks like and where gaps are likely to appear will help you to plan a stronger, more efficient and cost-effective workforce for the future.

3. Look ahead

To attract the best candidates to your school, it’s important to have a long-term recruitment plan in place that will meet the needs of individual schools within a MAT and the wider group.

Almost all (97%) of respondents said that their workforce planning and recruitment strategy was a priority for 2018/19. This is key to success and your recruitment partner can help you shape your strategy, whether the aim is to attract more maths teachers into your school, staff an ambitious initiative to boost literacy levels, or secure a pool of quality cover staff that can be called upon to fill vacancies in any academy across the group, at any given moment.

With the right approach, schools can increase their chances of attracting talented teachers into their classrooms and help to build a happy, inspiring and motivated workforce to enrich their pupils’ learning.

Mike Ruddle, a director at specialist recruiters Affinity Workforce, is looking at new ways of working to address the skills shortage in education.

Read the full report Resourcing the Performance Agenda in Schools and Multi-Academy Trusts here.

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