Addressing the teacher recruitment crisis

Andrew Goff, Director at ONVU Learning, discusses how digital assets can help in your recruitment strategy

No matter where you look, the news is rarely positive for the teaching profession lately. A recent report from the Public Account Committee (PAC) illustrates the growing crisis for schools struggling to recruit and retain teachers.

While the Government has pledged action, and training providers have redoubled their recruitment efforts, it seems clear that recruitment for 2018 and 2019 will be very difficult for schools, especially in key subject areas with shortages such as physics and maths, and in expensive locations such as London and the South East.

Schools that do well in this situation will be those that look holistically at all aspects of what is now being called talent management – taking every opportunity to both make their schools great places to work and to develop the staff that they have access to.  

Sensible methodologies and innovative technologies can play a role in solving the crisis, helping teachers to become better educators whilst alleviating some of the stresses associated with the role. One possible solution fuses 360-degree video with a methodology that measures the impact of the teacher’s classroom presentation to the moment. Users of pilot studies have reported that video coaching has re-energised them, helping them to be more engaged with their profession again, going some way to ease some of the pressures outlined in the aforementioned PAC report.

As one Head of Maths told us, his “staff are becoming more reflective… This allows us to have a much wider discussion and become more collaborative in our approach to personal development.” Sounds good! But how do you get the word out there when teachers have seen so many policies, plans, and gizmos come and go?

Sensible methodologies and innovative technologies can play a role in solving the crisis, helping teachers to become better educators whilst alleviating some of the stresses associated with the role.

Start by making a list, outlining what your school does differently to others. A starting point could be compiling a list of all the great things you do for your teachers. Once you’ve completed this, you can then get to the task of getting it out there in the public domain, (personal video coaching might be a draw for career minded NQTs and CPD-oriented trained teachers alike). This will stand you out from other schools who simply demand certain qualities from teachers without investing in the development and maintenance of them. Back these up (and deal with any worries people have about video in the classroom) by developing case studies of current teachers and creating a recruitment section on your website where people can ask questions about how your school’s investments in people work in practice.

It’s also important to think outside the box when it comes to advertising. Yes, the traditional channels such as agencies, print media, and recruitment fairs are crucial, but other, effective methods exist. For example, engaging with local community groups via social media tools or utilising parent newsletters. Develop links to initial teaching training providers, especially teaching schools and universities. You could offer them the chance to let their trainees use new teacher development procedures and see the difference it makes to teaching before they invest themselves.

Make sure your recruitment process is both flexible and engaging. Don’t expect everyone to turn up on the same day (what if that’s the day they have caring responsibilities?) and put them through a gruelling process. When you invite people in, show what you offer teachers and give them time to talk to existing teachers, rather than listing what you expect from them. Understanding through a less formal route how the organisation’s culture affects the role is a great way for the candidate to measure ‘fit’ at the initial stages of the recruitment process.

Finally, don’t be plagued by short-termism when it comes to your talent strategy. It can be difficult to plan for staff you will need further down the road, especially when there are vacancies that urgently need filling. However, going on a mad scramble to recruit someone out of desperation can cost you more time and money if you hire the wrong person. And this affects more than just the business of the school – it’s the future of young minds, too.


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