Riddle of the rural idyll

The crisis in teacher recruitment and retention presents a particular challenge for small schools in remote areas, one that is compounded by social and geographical isolation, a lack of affordable housing and funding uncertainty. John Roberts explores the dilemma facing rural schools, and asks what can be done

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There isn’t an option here for young teachers to look for housing somewhere near our school.

“We are surrounded by farm buildings, countryside…and the house from Downton Abbey.”

The Clere School, in Hampshire, is a small rural comprehensive with a famous neighbour – the Jacobean country house Highclere Castle used in the popular TV drama series. While this might make the area an appealing venue for tourists, it is much more difficult to attract new teachers.

The urgent need for England’s school system to find and keep more teaching staff is now well established, with Tes analysis suggesting ...

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