Teacher recruitment and retention – what have we learned this week?

The recruitment & retention game.. are you making the right moves?

This week has seen yet another publication highlighting the issue of teacher recruitment and retention.

This time a report from the House of Commons Education Committee – ‘Recruitment and retention of teachers’.

Link to the full details: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/education-committee/news-parliament-2015/supply-of-teachers-report-published-16-17/

I have outlined in short some of the conclusions and recommendations. As school business leaders we can reflect on the practice in our own settings; and evaluate what we can change to drive improvement.

The report concludes a lot of what we already know…

  • Schools are facing teacher shortages, especially in certain subjects and regions
  • Rising pupil numbers and increased accountability exacerbating problems
  • Various routes in to the profession not fully understood
  • Government focused on recruitment
  • Lead time with policy changes

Suggestions to address the issues:

  • Long term co-ordinated plan to improve the supply and retention of teachers
  • Analysis of data and impact
  • Initiatives to improve job satisfaction
  • Introduce a National vacancy website, that’s free to use and utilises analytics to identify trends
  • Publish teacher shortages on a regional basis
  • Collect data on retention rates, identify trends in areas or subjects
  • School exit interviews, understand turnover, trends, identify ways to retain staff
  • Make lead times for policy changes more realistic
  • Publish details of how Ofsted ensures consistency across inspections
  • Encourage more schools to use the workload challenge recommendations
  • Promote wellbeing and learning
  • Initiate a cap on hours worked outside of teaching time
  • Need for quality CPD

The difficulty is that the education sector is large and diverse, there is not going to be a one size fits all fix to the issue.

Looking at the list of recommendations that I’ve picked out, we can look at ways to improve things at a local level. For example, completing exit interviews and tracking data can give you some powerful information, but don’t look at this in isolation.

Consider the data analysis of recruitment and retention along side sickness absence management data, performance management, school monitoring, etc. Make sure it’s a combined approach from the whole leadership team: and report summary information to your Governing Board. Identify if there is an issue within particular job roles, teams or departments. Then set to work to find out what the issue is and start addressing it, if you can.

We don’t have a magic wand to wave that can fix every problem; and a certain level of staff turnover can be good to bring in fresh ideas and a new perspective.

We need to learn to make our recruitment and retention smarter.

We need to use smarter ways of approaching recruitment, retention, career planning and succession planning, here are some suggestions:

  • Recruitment open days, evenings, afternoons to showcase your school/MAT
  • Exhibit at careers events
  • Discuss training and CPD routes available for all levels
  • Talent/resource pools
  • Links with agencies that provide general and specialist services
  • Training centres
  • Collaboration with teaching schools
  • School-centred initial teacher training (SCITT)
  • Support networks
  • Shared resources
  • Integrated NQT support
  • Flexible options, part-time, extended programmes – don’t exclude those who need a more flexible option
  • Additional support for specialisms
  • Support training and sourcing finance
  • Overseas recruitment
  • Proactive marketing – encourage return to teaching, specific web pages
  • Advertisements
  • Social media: Twitter and Facebook – teachers tend to look online at the end of the week, so use a scheduling tool to reach your target audience
  • Share information online about training, opportunities, candidate successes, pupil/school achievements
  • Explore possible links with corporate organisations

Career Planning

By introducing succession and career planning, support your teachers to identify a stepped career path tailored to their aspirations, through gaining experience, knowledge; to ultimately get the role they want. Provide mentoring, coaching, CPD… why not grow your own stars of the future?

Invest in CPD – but what about the cost?

Investment in quality CPD programmes is great if you have the funding and resources…

The small mention of targeted funding for teacher CPD would be very welcome!

It would be great to learn from how you are dealing with recruitment and retention problems in your setting, please share your thoughts in the comments.