The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds announced on Sunday (3 June) the launch of new measures to help schools address budgetary restraints including recruitment costs. The measures announced included the establishment of a jobs portal to advertise vacancies, as pledged in the Conservatives’ 2017 General Election manifesto.
With over 350 specialist education recruitment agencies as members, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation’s (REC) is fully aware of the challenges schools face with resources and recruitment. Schools are under immense pressure to find high quality teachers at great speed - for instance covering teacher sickness, maternity and paternity - which against a background of teacher shortages is a very difficult task. Before they complete the list of background checks, they have to work hard to attract talent, especially for key subjects where teacher shortages are especially acute.
Given this background, measures taken by the Department for Education to address the recruitment difficulties faced by schools are necessary. At the same time, however, it is crucial to recognise the important role that specialist recruiters in the education sector play on a daily basis, and it is disappointing the government has not recognised this.
A recruitment agency is much more than a jobs portal. They carry out extensive checks to ensure that those who are put forward to schools are safe, appropriately skilled and the correct match to work in a school. They are required by law to set out and agree fees with schools. The REC recently put together this ‘factsheet’ outlining the role recruiters play in getting teachers into schools.
We all understand the need to control costs and schools are facing acute challenges with their resources. However, the amount of work that recruiters do in sourcing, placing and vetting suitably skilled and qualified teachers must be recognised. Often this is all done at very short notice.
The priority for the REC is to continue highlighting the contribution of specialist recruiters whilst working collaboratively with schools, teaching unions and the Government to promote good recruitment practice and develop long term measures for addressing current teacher shortages.
We continue to look from input from members on this matter. Please do get in touch with Chris Russell, Policy Adviser at the REC if you would like to discuss further on Chris.Russell@REC.uk.com. Our next education sector group meeting is on the afternoon of 19 June, when we will be discussing the latest policy matters affecting the sector – please RSVP online here.