Inovative strategies for teacher recruitment

The success of any school depends on getting the right people for the job. Education is a sector where individuals really matter; the skill, personality and dedication of your teachers can make a big difference to pupil satisfaction and progress. But many heads struggle to recruit the right teachers. Use these strategies to secure the teaching talent you need for your school.

Make your school as a desirable workplace

In order to attract the best teachers, you’ll need to convince them that your school is a great place to work. There are a number of ways to do this; firstly, look into the benefits and perks of the job that are currently on offer to your staff. Do they rival those available at other schools? School jobs often come with bonuses such as:

·         Opportunities for teacher training, development and career progression

·         A mentoring programme and additional support for new teachers

·         Flexible, job-share and part-time working options

·         Priority school places for children of staff (and discounts in fee-paying schools)

·         Onsite nursery

·         Sabbaticals for long-serving staff

·         Free meals

·         Use of gym and swimming pool

·         Well-equipped staff rooms and PPA areas

·         Competitive pay and pension package

·         Regular staff get-togethers and events

Show how it stands out

There’s a diverse range of schools out there, and that’s no bad thing. Different settings will attract teachers who have very different educational philosophies and career priorities, so by making your school’s individual ethos and philosophy clear, you’ll be better placed to attract the right staff. Create a distinctive personality or brand that sets your school apart, whether you’re a small and friendly village school or a large, diverse urban setting.

If your school has any unique characteristics, such as an attractive campus, famous alumni or a long and notable history, ensure that you emphasise these, too.

 Publicise the perks

Your teacher talent search requires effort and investment. Now that you’ve identified all the plus points of your school, it’s important to ensure people know all about them, through marketing materials and networking events. Your recruitment drive should be innovative and proactive, with strategies such as:

·         appearances at university career fairs

·         dedicated recruitment events at the school

·         regular workshops and networking events for local teachers

·         a promotional video to show what it’s like to work at the school

·         an active online presence, including social media accounts.

Get your staff to act as ambassadors

If you were approaching the recruitment process from the other side and looking for your dream job, you’d ask former employers for a recommendation. It’s a really effective way to demonstrate your competence and provide solid evidence of your employability, from the horse’s mouth.

Unsurprisingly, recommendations and testimonials work the other way, too! People will put their trust in others like them, so make a policy of asking existing staff to speak about your school and why it’s a great place to work.  They can do this in print, on video, or by speaking at events, and their words will carry a lot of weight.

Ask for referrals and recommendations

Teachers talk to other teachers, and it’s likely that each of your staff has their own professional network to tap into. That translates into a wide pool of teaching talent, almost at your fingertips! If you trust your teaching staff, ask them to recommend professionals that they know personally, who are looking for education vacancies. It’s a great way to find likeminded teachers with the characteristics that are a good ‘fit’ for your school. You could offer incentives, such as a financial bonus, for referrals that you end up hiring.

Adopt a targeted approach

You’ve identified all the features that make your school a great place to work. And you’re clear about what type of workplace you’re offering. It’s equally important to have a detailed idea of the type of people you are hoping to recruit, and to tailor your recruitment strategy accordingly.

·         Do you need specialists in a particular subject? Target subject-specific avenues such as trade press, professional associations and university departments.

·         Newly qualified teachers can be a great investment; by offering a good package of training and support, you could attract loyal staff with bags of enthusiasm to bring to the classroom.  Gear up your recruitment drive to address new graduates looking for school jobs, and make sure you make an impressive appearance at university career fairs.

Recruit from overseas

If your recruitment strategy just isn’t producing the teachers you need, it might be time to widen the field. Recruiting teachers from overseas can be an effective way to introduce valuable new talent into your school. Teachers trained in EU countries, and in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are already qualified to teach in the UK, so the red tape involved is minimal. Teachers from other countries can also bring valuable talent to your school, and by offering them the opportunity to achieve a UK teaching qualification, you could make your job offer very attractive.

Outsource your recruitment process to a specialist agency

It takes time and resources to recruit the best teachers. Outsourcing your talent search to a teacher recruitment agency can be a smart move; agencies know how to match up employees with workplaces to create a great fit. With many contacts on their books, they’re also able to headhunt candidates from other schools, so you could end up with someone you wouldn’t otherwise have found.  

Work hard to retain your best teachers

Getting the best teachers into the classroom is just the start. If you don’t want to repeat the recruitment process often, you’ll need to show your teaching staff that they are valued, by offering them all the perks you publicise in the recruitment process, paying attention to their support needs and offering recognition and career progression when it is deserved. In an ideal world, teacher recruitment should be just the beginning of a long-term relationship.

Support your teaching staff with videos for teacher training from BBC Active.