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Planning for recruitment.

The UK teacher shortage is well-documented, as are the regional imbalances and deficits in specific subject areas. With soaring numbers of pupils entering the education system, particularly in secondary schools, and large numbers of teachers leaving the profession, the teacher shortage is projected to increase to over 13,000 by 2021. Fewer people are entering teacher training courses due to the wider career options available, compounding the shortage because there are insufficient graduates to replace retiring teachers.

Many schools only think about recruitment when vacancies occur, but this approach can often cost more money, time and effort. As schools face rising costs and shrinking budgets, planning well into the future may be the solution to managing some of these challenges.

Instigating a system of “planned recruitment”, by forecasting likely staff turnover, along with possible changes to the curriculum, can help schools better understand the likelihood of needing to recruit for certain roles. Proactive recruiting is the key.

It is all about:      Picking the right person….at the right time.

It sounds simple, but a recruitment process that ends in the hiring of a new teacher who is not a good fit for the school is not financially efficient. Furthermore, such a process could lead to low retention, unsettled pupils and the need to recruit again.

Schools should therefore focus on recruiting candidates who are a good fit.

Plan Staff Now is a simple to use online platform that allows schools and education staff to connect with each other in a direct, cost-effective and transparent way.

Whether it’s permanent, temporary or supply positions, schools will have direct contact to find, book and manage the teachers or support staff that meet their needs, efficiently, and all in one place. With the proactive recruiting that Plan Staff Now provides, schools are able to check availability of teachers up to one year in advance. Schools can contact the teachers directly via the portal, phone, email, web or app. This enables those recruiting to build their own bank of preferred and trusted supply teachers.

For teachers looking for jobs, with everything in one place, they won’t have to update multiple recruitment agencies or job boards. They feel more valued and part of the team, as they will be employed directly by the school. Schools are more likely to turn temporary positions into permanent ones if they don’t have to pay fees.

According to the 2017 NAO survey of school leaders , schools filled only half of their vacancies with teachers who had the experience and expertise required and, in roughly a tenth of cases, schools did not fill the vacancy at all.

Some job applicants oversell their abilities, enthusiasm and dedication in their CVs, whilst other, very talented, teachers may submit weak applications, being inexperienced in writing a professional CV. Experienced recruiters are equipped to identify the worthwhile recruits – saving schools valuable time and resources. This also minimises a school’s risk of making a poor recruitment decision.

Good agencies, therefore, help to improve education standards by ensuring the best possible candidates are placed in schools.

The new Crown Commercial Service framework for supply teachers, which has been developed in conjunction with the Department for Education, recognises that there must be some consideration for recruitment firms, which pour time, energy and resources into sourcing and screening talent.
The best teacher agencies demonstrate a clear and knowledgeable understanding of schools, of the world of education and the professional development of teachers. This inside knowledge is extremely helpful when teachers are choosing placements that suit their skills, and the shared experience will help teachers to develop a relationship with their consultant, which is very important.
Safeguarding is a key area for schools to be concerned about, it’s also a really good indicator to whether an agency is reputable or not. All supply staff need at least two references as well as numerous background checks before they start work. It’s best practice for the agency to complete some of these checks before allowing a candidate to interview at a school. As a rule of thumb the best agencies get the safeguarding stage right.

If your school is interested in using PlanStaffNow as part of its staff recruitment solution then you can find out more at   It provides access to active membership of over 5,000 supply and permanent teachers. The fixed monthly fee enables schools to budget their supply and permanent staffing costs. Furthermore, there is no charge for turning a supply teacher into a permanent role.

Samantha Hurley, Director of Operations, Association of Professional Staff Companies, recently wrote:

‘As the new supply teacher framework demonstrates, the DfE recognises the role that recruitment consultancies play in accessing talent – and it’s about time that all individual school leaders do the same. Statements like “agencies are draining public money” just aren’t helpful.’



Mike Hodgkiss

Mike Hodgkiss has 36 years teaching experience in the secondary sector, twenty years as a deputy head in an 11-18 comprehensive school in Essex. He was a governor of a primary school for several years. He has led and coordinated training for staff in many aspects of teaching, learning and leadership not just in this country but in Europe too. He has written for EuroSchoolNet on international and citizenship projects and for ASCL's leadership magazine. He is currently editor of @Teachtalks.

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