Esme Bianchi-Barry, Managing Director at Monarch Education, discusses the education staff shortage and how teacher recruitment and retention affects the SEND world in particular…
Recent reports have highlighted the chronic shortage of teaching staff in the UK. It is arguable that this is particularly keenly felt in the SEND sector, especially with the rising demand for SEN teachers. The latest Government figures on the percentage of pupils with special educational needs in England has increased to 14.6%, and 2.9% for those with a statement of Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan.
Finding the right teacher for any post is difficult. In research conducted by Affinity Workforce, 70% of Head Teachers and Multiple Academy Trust decision makers said that finding quality teaching staff is the hardest, and most stressful, part of their job. Similarly, 59% of teachers said that teacher recruitment and retention is an issue in their school.
The importance of high-quality teaching staff in driving performance was seen as critical by 57% of schools and important by 47%. The wonderful poet and activist Maya Angelou once said, “This is the value of the teacher, who looks at a face and says there's something behind that and I want to reach that person, I want to influence that person, I want to encourage that person, I want to enrich, I want to call out that person who is behind that face, behind that color, behind that language, behind that tradition, behind that culture. I believe you can do it. I know what was done for me.”
Our research shows that joining a school, staying in a role and leaving a post are decisions that are not taken lightly. However, the statistics are concerning. While more than a third (37%) of teachers are not looking for a new job, 45% would consider a new role even though they were not actively looking. 10% of teachers were on the open job market, and 8% of teachers were looking to leave the profession altogether. This highlights the high levels of instability in the teaching profession.
To help schools recruit and retain talent, here are five key priorities to ensure high performance across education:
1. Data to help workforce planning: 77% of teachers say that they are overworked and 68% feel undervalued. While there is recognition of limited budgets and resources, better workforce planning can alleviate pressures. Tim Coulson, Chief Executive of the Samuel Ward Academy Trust says, “By analysing the data across our Trust we’ve been able to see that the number of staff on maternity leave is not that variable year on year. By taking the time to understand the data and spot patterns, we can start to be more forward thinking and proactive in our planning, save time and reduce costs.”
2. New models of teacher recruitment: Schools are starting to assess innovative models such as talent pools who can work across clusters of schools. For SEN roles, having teachers who know the school, its processes and pupils, creates a more stable environment. Part of the remit of the providers on the newly-announced Crown Commercial Services framework for MATs is to help create talent pools of supply teachers and use innovative technology to quickly fill recruitment gaps. Clearly, this will be of benefit to all schools, but continuity of teaching is especially important for SEND roles. Affinity Workforce is one of five organisations who are on the framework to provide a managed service for supply teachers and support staff.
3. Communicate a compelling employer brand: 95% of teachers said that the reputation of the school as a ‘good employer’ was a key factor in deciding which school to work for. An employer brand highlights the core values of a school, what it provides for its pupils and the community, the values of the school and its teaching staff and the culture that is created.
4. Collaborate for success: Teachers and schools believe collaboration can bring significant benefits. 55% of teachers say it can result in better education outcomes for pupils, and 62% believe it offers more career development opportunities. One school leader said in our research “What we hope is that by having a cluster of schools… you don’t have to look beyond us for your next promotion, and hopefully for the promotion after that.”
5. Recognition: Feeling undervalued is one of the most common reasons why teachers leave jobs. Recognising the contribution of teachers who go above and beyond not only motivates teachers, it helps to raise staff performance and publicly promotes what the school values. Plus, recognition outperforms reward as a key contributor to job satisfaction.
These five priorities will help recruit great teachers, and importantly, will help schools retain great talent in all roles and across all specialisms.
For more information on how Affinity Workforce can improve teacher recruitment click here, and find Monarch Education here.