Schools will face a difficult time in the Autumn. There are predictions of a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus as well as potential local lockdowns and a high rate of absence due to self-isolation.  

This first blog in the series looked at supporting new teachers in your school through this time, especially newly qualified teachers (NQTs). This blog looks at teacher recruitment and retention and how to do it (well) in the ‘new normal’. 

We’ve gathered ideas from our partner schools and knowledge of educational technology to help you meet these challenges. Many thanks also due to the Teacher Development Trust for insights offered in their webinar  #CPDConnectUp Recruitment Special’ in May 

1. Plan ahead for unexpected gaps 

With far fewer people moving jobs in teaching recentlythere’s a strong possibility that people will look to move on during the next year once it becomes easier to apply for new jobs – even choosing to leave at Christmas. This makes it even more important than usual to plan ahead for changes in your school and to be aware of staff looking to move on or retire.   

2. Use last year’s trainee teachers to help you this year 

Many teachers did not fully finish their training last year and a significant number were unable to find work at the end of termBudgets permitting, these may be exactly the people who could help your school support individual children and groups while completing their training and gaining more experience – and it would put you in an excellent position to recruit them for permanent jobs as they arise. Local university teacher training departments and training schools will be able to help you find them. 

3. Take part in the Early Careers Framework now to prepare for the future

The Early Career Framework pilot programme was initial aimed at around 2,000 new teachers in specific areas of England. However, it is now being expanded to other disadvantaged’ schools. Engaging with this programme will make your school more attractive to new teachers and set you up for the national roll-out next year.

4. Show how you are helping teachers in the ‘new normal’ 

Teachers are becoming more used to finding out information about schools remotely. Make it easier to recruit by developing a detailed recruitment section on your website – and make sure you demonstrate the support (technical and pastoral) you have shown to your staff during the last few months through case studies.   

5. Prepare for flexible and remote applications 

It has been amazing to see how creative schools have been when moving to remote interviewing over the lockdown period. But you cannot assume that things will be back to normal straight away. In particular many teachers will have problems travelling long distances for interviews due to transport and childcare issues. The good news is that everyone is getting better at video interviews. 

6. Share jobs creatively 

It’s unlikely that job fairs will be as popular in the near future and fewer people are buying printed publications. That means that you may need to be more creative in sharing jobs, depending on what you were using in the past. Asking your school community to share jobs on social media and advertising in digital publications are probably the best ways to find people now.

7. Learn from the lockdown recruitment experience 

 Schools have had to experiment with remote recruitment, moving to interviews in place of observed lessons for example. The good news is that you can learn from the successes and challenges of other schools – for examples in these articles in the Guardian and the TES. 

8. Focus on retention 

Perhaps the most important thing schools can do in these times of change is besides a careful teacher recruitment is to work hard on the retention of current staff. Key ways of doing this include welcoming new teachers and providing an effective induction process; allowing teachers to develop their skills through supportive coaching; and listening to their views through regular employee surveys.  

The New Normal series of blogs offer practical tips for school leaders and teachers to help them adapt to the new ways of teaching and learning. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to receive the whole series and the final guide book at the end.