Scramble for recruits

The sheer stress of running a poorly staffed subject area is putting off many potential applicants for senior roles

NEWBOLD community school is well up the league tables and in a pleasant area of Chesterfield but the school received just one applicant for each of six vacant posts.

Head Terry Gibson has now abandoned the traditional recruitment process:

"The usual procedure can take at least six weeks by the time you design an advert, place it, wait for responses, draw up a short list, interview and make an offer. But teachers are in such short supply that the person you do make an offer to has probably been snapped up by another school by then.

"These days we place an advert and immediately follow up anyone who shows any interest. Even if they have just phoned up for an information pack, we encourage them to come in for a chat.

"Three times this year we have gone through the whole recruitment process and then the person has dropped out at the last minute. There is a suspicion that it is because they got offers elsewhere."

Mr Gibson said applicants were well aware of their market value and increasingly "shop around" for the best offer. But he is reluctant to offer financial sweeteners: "It is unfair on staff who are already teaching at the school. I advertise the job with a certain salary and that is what they get."

He also believes that money is not necessarily the answer: "The heart of the problem is the fact that the authority of teachers is increasingly challenged by parents and pupils. There are no easy solutions."

Amanda Kelly

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