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DfE aims to cut ‘excessive’ supply teacher costs

Free teacher vacancy website could be rolled out by end of year

teacher, supply, supply agency, supply agencies, website, jobs website, free website, hinds, damian hinds, dfe, recruitment, funding

Free teacher vacancy website could be rolled out by end of year

The government will seek to reduce “excessive” teacher recruitment costs by giving schools a list of supply agencies that do not charge fees when making supply staff permanent.

The move comes as Damian Hinds said a free government website to advertise vacancies, promised in the Conservative manifesto, will be launched in Cambridgeshire and the North East.

It will include part-time roles and job shares, and could be rolled out nationwide by the end of the year.

School leaders welcomed the moves but warned they did not address the root causes of the financial pressures and recruitment crisis affecting schools.

Mr Hinds said: “Great schools are made by great teachers, so I want to reduce teacher workload to make it a more fulfilling profession and help schools bear down on costs so they can invest more on their frontline.

“Every pound that’s spent on excessive agency fees, or on advertising jobs, is a pound that I want to help schools spend on what really matters: making sure every child, whatever their background, is inspired to learn and to reach their potential.”

From September 2018, headteachers will be given a list of supply agencies that do not charge fees when making supply staff permanent after 12 weeks.

Those on the list will also have to set out clearly how much they charge schools on top of the wages of staff.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “The costs associated with recruiting supply teachers and advertising vacancies are driven upwards by the fact that schools have to constantly plug gaps because of the ongoing crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.

“We have to encourage more people to become teachers and then do a better job at keeping them in the profession.

“And the government must recognise that trimming costs is not enough to address the massive funding shortfall facing schools and colleges. It has to invest more in education and in the young people of this country.”  

Valentine Mulholland, head of policy for the NAHT heads' union, described the measures as “sensible”, but added that they “cannot hope to solve the root cause of the recruitment and financial crises facing schools”.

She said: “Recruitment is a challenge because there are insufficient numbers of newly qualified teachers coming into the system and too many experienced teachers leaving prematurely. Agency costs are a problem but it is the lack of teachers that force their use.

“The solution that all schools are crying out for is more money overall and a better deal for teachers, who have seen their workload rise and salaries fall in real terms for nearly a decade.”

* Tes is part of Tes Global, whose businesses include three teacher supply agencies: Smart Teachers, Vision for Education and ABC Teacher. As of 1 June, these agencies do not charge fees when making supply staff permanent after 12 weeks.

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