Ian Widdows, headteacher of Giles Academy in Old Leake, near Boston, Lincolnshire, is the founder of the National Association of Secondary Moderns (NASM).
“Recruitment is difficult and we have had to employ strategies to overcome [this],” he said. “We face difficulties for a number of reasons, we are a secondary modern, we are rural, we’re in a coastal strip and there are high levels of deprivation here.
“We do have difficulties in terms of staff turnover. We are a growing school and Year 7 is the biggest year group we have ever had. It’s great, but it has its own challenges. We have overcome some of that by doing a lot of our own training in school with School Direct. For mathematics, we also have a link with universities in Slovakia, and have some fantastic teachers from that scheme.”
Mr Widdows said Ofsted had acknowledged that grammar schools were more likely to attract more good teachers than other schools.
“I don’t necessarily buy the idea that teachers in grammar schools are better teachers. They are doing different jobs, it is not directly comparable,” he added. But he argued that if the need for help with recruitment to non-selective schools in selective areas had been identified, then action should be taken.
“It is the perfect time to discuss this – not only are grammar schools on the national agenda, but so is the national funding formula. If you are a non-selective school in a selective area, where is the extra money to recruit and retain teachers?”