Agencies swoop on lucrative school market

18th May 2001 at 01:00
TEACHERS already expect relocation expenses, cheap housing and golden handshakes with their new job as schools and councils struggle with the recruitment crisis. Now supply agencies are getting in on the act.

New London-based group Match Education is offering teachers a monthly mortgage or rent allowance of up to pound;3,360 a year and is also considering pension contributions and even private health cover.

It plans to specialise in long-term placements and helping teachers into permanent jobs, and hopes to have 400 people on its books by the start of the school year.

The mortgage aid of pound;280 a month is intended as an incentive for teachers to stay in the capital. Teachers would have to commit themselves to placements of at least a term and would not be able to take holidays - as supply staff do - during term-time.

Authorities such as Essex already offer mortgage aid or subsidised housing, while some schools are even creating on-site accommodation. The Government is developing a key worker housing strategy which would help teachers get a foot on the housing ladder.

In another sign of the recruitment crisis, one of the country's lagest recruiters of supply teachers is offering to help heads find permanent staff - for up to several thousand pounds.

Select Education is moving into the market for permanent staff and promising to drastically cut down on the time school managers put into filling vacant posts.

The company has set up an office in central London and claims already to be working with around 30 schools. It went ahead after surveying 112 schools last year and finding that 42 per cent of senior managers were devoting two full days or more for each teacher they hired.

Offering the service on a"no placement, no fee" basis, Select will write and place adverts, carry out police and qualifications checks, verify references, match candidates against a school's criteria and arrange interviews, as well as promoting schools. Schools will continue to interview the candidates themselves.

The fee quoted for placing a teacher is 25 per cent of their first year's salary - pound;4,473 for a newly-qualified teacher with a good honours degree or pound;6,211 for a teacher at the threshold. Select says this is the going rate for recruiting in accountancy and management.

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