How you recruit and retain the best teachers and senior leaders for
your school requires a school centred approach. This means thinking
about your school, your setting and what is required to get the best
talent to join your team.
crisis’ is set against a
backdrop of record growth
in the UK with private sector
vacancies at their highest
point since 2007.
How this will translate to public sector jobs
(and by public sector, we mean all maintained
schools as well as academies and free schools)
is open to speculation. However, it is already
clear that a growing private sector means a
shift by graduates from looking at careers in the
public sector. Add to this, increasing workloads,
league tables, Ofsted and shifting policies, it is
no wonder than a recent NUT survey revealed
that more than 53% of teachers were thinking
of quitting in the next two years.
Schools are in competition for talent
The Association of School and College Leaders
suggest that head teachers are being treated
like football managers, judged on results for that
year alone. Therefore as a head teacher it is
even more critical to continually look at building
a strong and successful team around you to
ensure ongoing success.
With this challenge in mind here are some
suggestions to ensure you are continuously able
to attract talent.
1. Ongoing PR highlights your reputation
You are always recruiting, so it is
critical that you have and maintain a great
school image. How are you perceived in the
community? How much information is out
there about what your school has achieved?
You don’t have to be an ‘outstanding’ school
but you should always highlight and celebrate
your successes. It is worth looking beyond your
school improvement plan and looking at raising
your local profile. Social media, local events and
general publicity is a good way to maintain this.
2. Be clear about the opportunities
All candidates joining your school want to know
what you have to offer them and nothing is
better at illustrating that than talking about the
successes of your school staff. Newsletters on
your website should be written for a range of
audiences including your future staff. Highlight
what your school continues to do well as this
may be the detail that secures a candidate
above another local opportunity.
3. Identify the person
Schools that spend time thinking about
desired traits of their new recruit are more likely
to make a good hiring decision. Understanding
the personality traits required (the soft skills)
is vital to making a successful appointment.
Defining what your school needs may require
an analysis of your current team but the time
invested now will pay dividends in the long run.
4. Create engaging job adverts
If you are designing your own job advert,
ensure that it is less of a job description and
talks more of the opportunity available. When
applying for a role, at any level, the overall
opportunity and challenge at the school is
often what appeals more than a list of job
duties. Ensure you describe what is expected
of someone within the team, yet highlight how
this is supported by senior leadership. Also make
sure the team have the attributes of the ideal
candidate defined, so it is clear why someone
should apply for the role.
5. Simple application process
The best candidates are predominantly in
current roles and will be busy with their existing
commitments. Demanding workloads means
time can be limited and a lengthy application
process can dissuade candidates from applying
for a new position. The application process
needs to be simple and positive. Short and
concise application forms, clear and logical
questions and set deadlines should be the norm
and responding to all applicants is essential.
Shortlisted candidates should be invited to
interview by phone and ideally this should
take place after school hours so they have an
opportunity to ask questions.
6. Broaden your search
The traditional methods of recruiting to
education roles are becoming more challenging
and the current market is making many
schools / governors think differently about
their approach. The pro-active approach is
becoming more favourable with many, but most
will consider this in the wider context of the
school and whether this is a chance to bring in
some well needed external talent or whether
it is a chance to develop the staff within the
current team. There are different options to
explore, but with the future of the sector looking
more demanding it is worthwhile considering
recruitment as a constant process.
Education Futures is a specialist company
that supports schools with securing
senior leaders in education. They provide
support into schools in the areas of school
improvement, development of leadership
and subject specific support. They are also
able to support interim needs at a senior
level or complete full recruitment processes
for senior roles.