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New survey shows schools are becoming more flexible in order to fill vacancies, but at the expense of teacher quality

London

The latest TES Teacher Recruitment Index from TES Global shows that schools filled a higher proportion of vacant posts during the Easter 2016 period than in any Easter period since 2012. However, there are growing worries that this is at the expense of teacher quality. 

Schools are less happy with the calibre of candidates for teaching jobs, despite the rising appointment rate. 71% of schools were happy with the quality of candidates in 2016, versus 79% in 2015.

You can download the full report at: http://bit.ly/2ep7lX2

Rob Grimshaw, CEO of TES Global said: “Schools are having to work hard to recruit teachers but they’re succeeding by becoming more flexible and creative. However, our data suggests that they’re also increasingly concerned about the quality of candidates. TES is responding by helping schools to find and retain talent in cost-effective ways. As well as rolling out free application management tools and employer pages for schools, we’re giving more profile to part-time and job share roles and working to bring lapsed teachers back into the profession.”

Ben Thompson, Headteacher of Trinity Academy in London, commented on the report findings: “There is no doubt though that some areas and subjects are under extreme pressure across the country. One of the challenges facing school leaders right now is striking the right balance between pragmatism to make sure that every class has a teacher, and ensuring the bar continues to be set as a high as it should be in terms of teaching quality.”

John Tomsett, Headteacher of Huntington School in York, commented on the need for more flexibility: "A third of our 100+ teachers are part-timers. I am keen to be flexible in order to retain the best teachers. It makes sense in times when retaining teachers is difficult. Our other strength is in professional development."

Key findings of the report:

1. Recruitment has been getting significantly harder since 2012, but has picked up in this year’s main recruitment round.

The TES Teacher Recruitment Index tracks schools’ ability to successfully recruit teachers. The index fell significantly between 2012 and 2015, indicating recruitment was becoming more difficult for schools. Yet this year’s index has bounced back. Schools have filled a higher proportion of vacant posts during the Easter 2016 period than in any Easter period since at least 2012.

2. Ultimately, schools cannot have classes without teachers and are finding ways to adapt.

With budgets tight and competition for teaching talent intense, schools are becoming more flexible in order to fill roles:

Hiring more newly qualified teachers

A TES survey of 200 school leaders, carried out in July 2016, found that 37 per cent of respondents said they were recruiting more NQTs this year than last, and same proportion said they were recruiting more unqualified teachers.

Restructuring roles

The survey found schools were willing to be flexible in order to recruit the right staff: 82 per cent of respondents said they had restructured roles in order to make sure they filled a post.

Resorting to redundancies and removing roles

The TES budget survey, carried out in May 2016, found that 80 per cent of teachers and 76 per cent of leaders had noticed a drop in the number of teachers at their secondary school.

More part-time roles

Others schools are being flexible in order to get the most out of part-time teachers. Retaining teachers and tempting back lapsed teachers will be critical to staying ahead of the situation, and TES research shows part-time working will be crucial in this effort. A TES survey of 1,500 past and present teachers, carried out in June, found that 77 per cent of those who had left the profession would consider returning, but only for part-time or job-share roles.

3. The nature of the problem is changing – it is now becoming a question of quality.

The TES Teacher Recruitment Index tracks how happy schools are with the quality of applicants they receive, from all sources. Schools are increasingly dissatisfied with the calibre of candidates for teaching jobs, despite the rising appointment rate. 71% of schools were happy with the quality of candidates in 2016, versus 79% in 2015.

You can download the full report at: http://bit.ly/2ep7lX2

ENDS

About the TES Teacher Recruitment Index

The TES Teacher Recruitment Index is the most comprehensive and frequent survey of teacher recruitment activity in schools in England. It tracks secondary schools’ ability to successfully recruit teachers over time by region and subject. Based on interviews with more than 5,000 schools that have taken place since the Index began in 2011-12. This report covers the year’s main recruitment round of Easter 2016.