It’s no secret that there is a recruitment issue in education across the UK today. The subject of  how to attract more school staff has been an area of focus for quite some time. The issue has been widely recognised for some time, the debate about how best to tackle it continues to rage.

In a recent research paper, the National Foundation for Educational Research announced that teacher recruitment is reaching a crisis point. While it acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic led to a brief uptake in the number of trainee teachers, the research found that the number entering initial teacher training in 2022 was further below target than at any point in the previous decade, at least.

In fact, the number of teaching vacancies being advertised in 2022 was two-thirds higher than before the pandemic.

Crucially, the report recognises that despite the best efforts by school leaders’ to mitigate the impact on the quality of education pupils receive, they are unlikely to succeed as they will be forced to accept other alternatives – putting further strain on current teachers.

The State of the Sector

Meanwhile, teaching unions in England and Northern Ireland have set dates for further strikes after rejecting a pay rise offer from the government. And, in Wales, while the National Education Union (NEU) have agreed to the government’s deal, the National Association for Head Teachers (NAHT) have rejected it, and have been taking action short of strikes since 1st February – including only answering emails between 9am and 3pm, refusing evening meetings, and not taking part in staff appraisals.

In the past month, the Education Committee launched a new public inquiry into teacher recruitment, training and retention, with the purpose of identifying the main issues in these areas and assessing the impact that financial incentives, attempts to reduce workloads, and mental health support can have.

Yet this is likely to be a relatively lengthy process, and the onus is on school leaders to be able to find solutions in the interim.

So in today’s competitive climate, how do multi-academy trusts attract new talent and retain their current staff members? Sector-wide changes will take time to remedy, but for many trusts, the issue of successful recruitment is one for which they cannot afford to wait for a solution.

Attract More School Staff

In our latest blog, we take a look at some of the key, proactive steps trusts can take to ensure they remain competitive employers in the job market, and attract the best talent possible.

1. Make sure everyone knows what you stand for

The way people react to your trust starts with how you present yourself and what you stand for. It’s essential to make it clear what your visions and values are, your organisation’s ethos, and why that is the case.

Your vision and values should reflect a positive, approachable, and supportive environment that staff members want to join. If staff members don’t think that you can provide that environment, they will look elsewhere.

2. Actively support staff with CPD and development outside of the classroom

Continuous professional development (CPD) is crucial to your staff members, so it’s important to advertise how your trust supports staff development and the options available to them. This will show that you understand how important it is to support their career aspirations.

Provide opportunities for staff members to contribute, ask questions, and raise issues where needed. Let them know that you understand their professional goals, and you’re committed to supporting their growth and development.

3. Promote staff wellbeing and mental/physical health

People spend most of their time at work, and it’s essential to ensure that when they do, they don’t experience overwhelming stress or anxiety. Support your staff members by communicating how you are going to provide them with the help they need.

Create an open and honest environment, where staff members can discuss their mental and physical health concerns. Communicate that you’re committed to ensuring staff wellbeing and reducing workloads, which can contribute to burnout.

4. Make the recruitment process pleasant, straightforward and supportive

Don’t make it impossible for people to apply. The recruitment process can be overwhelming, with compliance, data collection, and beyond. It’s essential to make it as easy as possible for people to reply and submit their applications.

Digitise the process wherever possible and keep it brief. Provide applicants with the contact information for whoever is reviewing their applications, so they can ask for help or support if they need it. This approach can show applicants that you’re committed to being a supportive employer, even before they join the team.

Taking the next step

Multi-academy trusts need to attract more school staff  and teachers. Whether it’s approaching new talent or retaining their current staff members. Fortunately, this can be achieved by making it clear what your trust stands for. Voice that you support staff development, promote wellbeing and mental and physical health. Make the recruitment process easy and supportive.

Implement these strategies and your trust can stand out as an attractive employer. Talk to a member of our team about how these strategies can help your trust. Get in touch with Eduprise.