The UK has been facing a widespread shortage of teachers and teaching staff for years, and despite a brief increase of people registering for teacher training courses during the pandemic, it seems this problem is here to stay.
The problem is twofold, the Department of Education has struggled to reach recruitment targets in secondary schools most years since 2011 – 2012, and attrition rates for teachers are high, with 22% of teachers aged 50 or younger wanting to leave teaching within the next five years.
Due to this new teaching staff shortage and many teachers leaving the profession each year, teaching recruitment is incredibly competitive. In this market, teachers effectively have their pick of jobs, so how can you make sure they pick you?
Here are our top tips to improve your school’s recruitment process and stand out.
5 ways to improve your school’s recruitment process
Although it’s hard to recruit and retain good teaching staff in 2022, it’s not impossible. When it comes to teaching recruitment, there are a few ways that your school can sharpen up its processes and attract the best teachers.
These are our top five:
1. Good marketing is vital
It might seem strange to invest heavily in marketing when trying to improve your school’s recruitment process because most schools may not think of themselves as businesses first and foremost. But schools provide a service, employ teachers and staff, and have “customers” i.e. students — so just like any other business, schools need to find ways to market themselves.
This doesn’t mean you need to launch a social media campaign or start a TikTok account. Just make sure that your website is easy to use and sleek and professional looking. Your website is effectively your ‘shop window’ where both prospective parents and potential employees will look to get to know you better.
You might want to talk to existing staff, parents, and even children attending your school to find out what they love about working or learning with you. Use this information to highlight key benefits across your website and promotional brochures.
You could also film these conversations and include them as video testimonials to show your school in a good light and highlight some friendly faces. When writing copy for your website, promotional brochures, and job descriptions, it’s important to use inclusive language consistently. You also need to be transparent and honest about the organisation’s culture and working environment.
2. Clearly defined job roles and expectations of candidates
One of the simplest improvements you can make when revamping your school’s recruitment process is to write a really clear and concise job description and be transparent with candidates about job requirements from the start.
For example, in the ‘required skills’ section of the job description, include only skills that are vital to the success of the role. Including too many ‘requirements’ may deter excellent candidates with a long list of desired but unnecessary qualifications.
The purpose of the job description is to give the candidate a realistic understanding of what a typical day in the teaching role would be like. Try not to minimise the responsibilities of the role or exaggerate the opportunities.
To help you write a fair and accurate job description, it’s a good idea to interview outgoing teachers to understand better how their roles developed, how their teaching style meshed with the school culture, and what skills they acquired in their positions.
3. Offer a comprehensive and attractive professional development programme
Just like any other job, teachers and teaching staff are looking to learn and develop within their roles. A key way to keep talent in the recruitment process is to highlight any opportunities for development in job adverts and interviews.
On top of this, offering bursaries for courses can be very attractive to prospective hires, as teaching staff often cite a lack of money as a huge factor in taking jobs. Showing prospective teaching staff that there are progression opportunities and that you will financially support their skills development too is a fantastic way to stand out from the crowd and attract motivated candidates.
One study into the effectiveness of skills development and team leadership in British schools found that staff felt highly valued in schools that had a strong commitment to professional development, encouraging many to go the extra mile.
Offering a comprehensive professional development programme is not only attractive to prospective teachers but will also help keep existing employees engaged.
It’s important to communicate these opportunities effectively in any job adverts and highlight them throughout the recruitment process. If you don’t already offer much support for professional development, now is a good time to start investing in it!
4. Transparency and fairness
Poor salaries are a major hurdle when looking for (and retaining) new teaching staff. This has been a growing issue for many years now, and when you consider inflation, the average salary for teachers is about 7-9% below the 2010-11 rate.
So, being honest and transparent about how much your staff are paid is important. Salary transparency, where companies are open about how much team members and managers are being paid, isn’t required in the UK, but it’s one of the most impactful ways to build trust with employees.
Transparency is an integral part of Diversity and Inclusion statements (DEI) as being honest about your progress or areas of weakness shows that you are doing more than just ticking boxes and that you care about improving and building a more equal and healthy workplace.
Salary transparency is one aspect of this, but you should also be open to questions about the demographic data of your workplace including age, gender, ethnicity, and your commitment to DEI.
5. Clear and comprehensive communication and onboarding
Once you’ve worked on your marketing, job descriptions, and DEI initiatives, don’t fall at the last hurdle — set your new employees up for success with your onboarding approach. An effective onboarding process is vital to ease new teachers into their role and make them feel welcome and supported at your school.
Effective onboarding also helps improve employee engagement. Studies have found that new hire retention is improved by 82% and productivity by 70% in organisations with well-considered and thorough employee onboarding processes.
Remember that the onboarding process starts before the new teacher’s first day. In the weeks leading up to their start date, you should make sure that the new hire has all the information they need to feel prepared on their first day at work. This includes regular communication about what to expect and any information about school events in the first few weeks that they may want to attend, as well as more practical steps such as ensuring they have all the equipment they need.
Make sure you effectively communicate with prospective employees and let them know what will be expected of them in the first months, as well as information on how they’ll be assessed and what support is available to them. This will help them to feel clear about what to expect in their new role and means that they will be more likely to stick around.
Improve your school’s recruitment strategy with crooton
Changing up your school’s recruitment is a big task! If you’re looking for a little help, look no further than the experts at crooton. We regularly cover recruitment news and tips on our blog, including the most in-demand teaching skills right now, the state of recruitment in education, and how to make your employer brand stand out.
And for more tailored advice for your school, get in touch with the crooton team today!