Teacher shortages and wasted recruitment budgets

Schools have never been under more pressure than they have today – squeezed budgets, burgeoning classroom sizes and an epidemic of stressed teachers all paint a picture of doom and gloom. Little wonder then that already, almost a quarter of teachers who qualified as fresh-faced teachers in 2011, have left the profession never to look back.

To be clear: this is a landscape of schools in crisis.

What we know about the immediate future of our schools compounds this gloomy outlook, as the school age population is just about to soar – rising by 200,000 to take the student populous up to three million by 2020, and to 3.3 million by 2025.

In many ways, teacher shortages are a classic chicken or the egg situation – continual teacher shortages exasperate many of the problems in schools – leading to understaffing and overworked teachers, in turn pushing more teachers to breaking point.

Despite claims that there is more money going into our schools in this country than ever before in the history of the country”, the Institute for Fiscal Studies reports that schools in England are set to see the first real-terms funding cuts in 20 years.

The outlook is even graver for secondary schools, with only 82% of the forecasted required teacher positions being filled.

“By botching teacher recruitment and continually doing down the profession, this government has left schools struggling against falling applications in key subject areas like maths and science, and the highest number of teachers leaving the profession since records began”.

There’s not a penny to spare, and yet 10% of school recruitment budgets are being wasted. Instead of being spent on funding more teachers, this 10% is spent on advertising and then re-advertising positions that go unfilled – a problem so widespread that 79% of schools report recruiting teachers to be a problem.

The latest drive by the Government to attract teachers into the profession proudly promote teacher bursaries of up to £26,000, tax-free, to train. Yet despite the near tripling in the value of bursaries, and the “Get Into Teaching” campaign, recruitment woes continue, especially when recruiting science trainees, where a 16% fall has been reported.

The very latest figures go even further in worrying head teachers, reporting that teacher training is down by 6,510 – a figure that could be nothing short of disastrous when we consider the upcoming surge in pupil numbers.

Question is, what can be done?

The solution, for many, is to turn to recruitment agencies – with schools paying hand over fist in a frantic bid to plug the holes left by understaffing – paying anywhere between £3,000 to £10,000 to a fill a vacancy.

Time for change

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the tried and tested methods of traditional teacher recruitment are failing. Significant, more cost-effective changes must be turned to – and for this, social media proves to be an unlikely potential saviour. To weigh up the power of social for teacher recruitment, schools would do well to look to just how effectively businesses are harnessing this form of recruitment…

80% of job seekers utilise social in their searching process

84% of companies recruit via social media (up from 56% as of 2011)

36% of job posts get 36% more applications compared to using a recruitment video

Driving down costs, reducing frustrations and addressing the expensive merry go round that is teacher recruitment in its current format, social certainly promises much for the embattled head teacher on a recruitment drive. Yet this might be only half the story, as it will be millennials that make up tomorrow’s teaching workforce. With this very specific group considered, it’s more than worth noting that these are the individuals who grew up online – a demographic with 50% using social media routinely in their job hunt, 73% of whom report finding their last position through social.

All things considered, social is less a nice-to-have and potential solution to wasted recruitment budgets, but a non-negotiable for attracting the next generation of teaching talent.

Talented teacherjobs.co.uk are a leading social recruitment solution for schools – connecting teachers, leaders and education professionals. We discover the right candidates, for the right locations – reducing costs with a single, streamlined search. In every sense, this is teacher recruitment fit for the 21st century – and many of the recruitment challenges that schools face today.


Leave a Reply