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Supply rate rockets as schools vie for staff

FURTHER evidence of the recruitment difficulties facing schools emerged this week as a Kent secondary modern offered to pay more than pound;10,000 a term for a supply teacher.

The Westlands school, Sittingbourne, is so desperate to find a good supply science teacher, it is advertising in this week's TES for recruits at a flat rate of pound;150 a day, with a pound;1,000 bonus for completing a full term's work.

That would translate to pound;10,750 for a 13-week term. A teacher at the pay threshold would earn pound;24,000 a year.

The successful applicant will also be offered a pound;10-a-day travel bonus.

The school is also dangling a relocation package of up to pound;2,000, plus a negotiable salary, for a permanent science teacher.

Alan Burchett, headteacher of Westlands, a foundation school, said he had been searching without success for two science teachers since September.

He said the school's difficulties partly reflected the fact it will not employ teachers permanently without seeing them teach. But all Kent schools were finding it difficult to recruit supply staff.

He added: "The Government really has to take a note of the situation in Kent and southern England. There just aren't enough teachers to fill the positions."

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said the pound;1,000 bonus payment could be of "dubious legality", unless it was paid through an employment agency, because of the School Teachers Pay and Conditions document.

But he added: "This sends a strong message to the Government and the School Teachers' Review Body as they discuss pay levels. Schools' recruitment problems are not going to be solved unless teachers are offered decent pay and conditions."

Meanwhile, the increasing appeal of teachers to other professions was illustrated this week when a management consultancy firm offered classroom professionals pound;40,000 per annum to come and work for it. Practick, a firm specialising in "large-scale change projects", is advertising in this week's TES for ex-teachers willing to advise clients on in-

company communications.

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