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5 ways to overcome hiring and retention challenges in Education

  • Date: Feb 21, 2023
  • Author: Alastair Tulloch

Schools around the country are facing a myriad of problems affecting their ability to recruit the teaching staff they need. The government continues to fail to meet its targets as applications to secondary initial teacher training (ITT) courses fall nearly a third short of the expected 20,945 target. Core subjects such as science, computing, maths and design & technology are hardest hit with only 20% of the target numbers of physics trainees being recruited.  

Retention of existing staff is one key path to overcoming the upcoming challenges facing schools and learning providers. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has highlighted the need for education employers to renew their focus on strategies for retaining teaching staff. However, retention cannot meet these challenges alone.  

5 ways to recruit and retain staff and beat the teacher shortage 

How schools approach recruitment will be critical to ensuring they create long-lasting, sustainable talent pipelines that give them access to teachers, teaching assistants, and specialist support staff for years to come. Here are five creative steps you can take to attract exceptional teaching talent: 

 1. Access the bonuses and funding available 
As part of its plan for levelling up education, the government is offering a number of different funding and bonus streams for schools and trainee teachers. Newly qualified STEM teachers and those working in the most disadvantaged schools will be eligible for a variety of retention bonuses designed to encourage them to stay in the profession. 

Make sure you are advertising these bonuses in your job descriptions and recruitment information, and offer your current teachers assistance and advice to help them access the bonuses they are entitled too. Additionally, if your school is receiving other funding to develop buildings and infrastructure you can promote that in your recruitment materials. 

 2. Develop your brand as an employer  
Establishing a reputation as a good school to work for is important. A good employer brand can make all the difference when it comes to attracting teaching staff. Your school website needs to be accessible to parents and students, but it is also a critical tool in selling yourself to potential staff members. Some academy trusts and schools also maintain a presence on social media sites liked LinkedIn. 
Be mindful of review websites. These are in their infancy for schools, but they do exist. Take ownership of your profiles and encourage current staff to leave reviews, you can then point to these as part of your recruitment process.

 3. Promote development opportunities 
Offering a range of professional and personal development and training opportunities to your teachers can go a long way to attract and retain staff. 55% of teachers say they do not receive enough professional development opportunities. Upskilling current team members can also help you access much-needed soft skills such as leadership, time management and communication. Teachers who feel supported and encouraged are more likely to stick with you long term and more skilled staff means better learning outcomes. 

 4. Shout about your positives 
Is your school in a desirable location? Do your teachers have access to learning resources? Whether its small class sizes, brilliant community connections or a slimmed down timetable, whatever your selling points, great and small, you should be shouting about them on your website, in newsletters and as part of your job descriptions. Every school has things that are unique to them or are attractive to potential candidates. Be vocal about what sets you apart. 
You should also be championing the achievements of your staff and students. A school that supports its members and encourages exceptional academic, professional, and personal achievements for both students and teachers is somewhere that ambitious, talented people will want to work. 

 5. Revamp recruitment processes  

Beating the challenges when it comes to teacher recruitment can often come down to hiring processes that are not fit for purpose. Rigid hiring processes can make it harder for you to reach candidates and complex application forms and lengthy interview procedures can put candidates off before they’ve even applied. Revamp your recruitment processes by:  

  • Starting the process as early as possible 

  • Ensuring online application forms are easy to fill in 

  • Making your application portal and website mobile friendly 

  • Communicating with candidates and organise interviews quickly  

  • Offering flexibility around interviews – video interviews are a great way to improve accessibility 

Overcome your hiring challenges and attract top teaching staff with Vetro Education

At Vetro we support Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, SEN Schools (special educational needs), and FE (further education) provisions across Wales and England, helping them find permanent and temporary teachers and specialist staff with the skills they need.

If you are experiencing staff shortages or need help in attracting skilled teaching professionals in your region we can help. 

Find out more about Vetro Education or contact a consultant to discuss your hiring needs. 

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