It’s difficult to avoid them. The negative headlines about teacher recruitment and retention are multiplying as 2018 starts. The latest, in the latest Schools Week, ‘Teacher training crisis deepens as new candidates drop by 33%’.
While the Government has pledged action and training providers have redoubled their recruitment efforts, it seems clear that recruitment for 2018 and 2019 will be very difficult for schools, especially in shortage areas such as Physics and Maths, and in expensive areas such as London and the South East.
Schools that do well in this situation will be those that look holistically at all aspects of what is now being called talent management – taking every opportunity to both make their schools great places to work and to share this widely in their community.
How can ONVU help? Well, in addition to the benefits for teaching and learning, users of LessonVU have reported that video coaching has reenergised them and made them more engaged with teaching as a career. One of the most rewarding quotes we received from a user was ‘it’s helped my find my teaching passion again’. LessonVU has also helped create stronger department teams, another key factor in retaining staff – one Head of Maths told us his ‘staff are becoming more reflective…This allows us to have a much wider discussion and become more collaborative in our approach to personal development’.
So far so good, but how do you spread the word wider? Our 7 suggestions here are…
1. Make a list of all the great things you do for teachers that make your school different to others.
2. Highlight these (including the fact that you offer personal video coaching) in your existing recruitment processes to show that you are committed to developing your staff. Share them with recruitment agencies and highlight them in your adverts to stand out from those that just demand qualities from teachers.
3. Back these up (and deal with any worries people have about video in the classroom) by developing case studies of current teachers and creating a recruitment section on your website where people can ask questions and show their interest in future jobs.
4. As well as traditional recruitment channels (advertising in the TES, recruitment fairs and agencies), make use of your other existing community marketing – from parent newsletters to social media to links with local community groups.
5. Develop links to initial teaching training providers, especially teaching schools and universities. You could offer them the chance to let their trainees use LessonVU and see the difference it makes to teaching.
6. Make sure your recruitment process is both flexible and engaging. Don’t expect everyone to turn up on the same day (what if that’s the day they have caring responsibilities?) and put them through a gruelling process. When you invite people in, show what you offer teachers and give them time to talk to existing teachers, rather than listing what you expect from them.
7. And finally, think long term about your ‘talent’. Plan for the staff you will need in 5 years’ time and offer development opportunities with this in mind. Don’t be annoyed when good staff leave – keep in touch and ask them to recommend your school (and they may come back!). And keep in touch with unsuccessful applicants – especially if they just missed out or applied speculatively. Some schools now produce a regular careers newsletter for such people.