Head exploits school's infamy

26th January 2001 at 00:00
Roger Butterfield's tale (far right) is a cautionary one for those trying to recruit and hang on to teachers. We examine their tactics and the state of the staffing crisis

KINGSWOOD high, one of the worst-performing schools in the country, is beating the teacher shortage with a straight-talking recruitment drive - and extra pay.

The Fresh Start school, which has just been officially classed as "failing", is on Hull's deprived Bransholme estate. It is joint-bottom of the national GCSE league tables with just 3 per cent of pupils getting five grade Cs or better.

Despite that, the school has managed to fill all seven teacher vacancies with full-time staff.

As other schools are facing the threat of four-day weeks, head Kevin Beaton has recruited a head of science from York's respected Joseph Rowntree school and a special needs expert from West Sussex.

Mr Beaton warns candidates that life will not be a bed of roses but his selling line is: "You'll earn your battle stripes." Teachers can also expect an extra pound;1,500 a year, from the pound;300,000 extra govenment funding the school receives.

The school now has a full complement of staff for the first time since it replaced the failing Perronet Thompson school in September 1999. Five new staff members started this January and two more will join in April.

Mr Beaton said: "When people come to look around we insist they meet other staff and some of the kids, so that it is not a sugar-coated tour. I tell new recruits that the challenges they face here will prepare them to work in any school in the country."

Mr Beaton found fame in his local paper last year when he was criticised for attending a Department for Education and Employment-funded trip to Washington. Paradoxically, he thinks the school's notoriety may have helped recruitment.

He said: "It is hard work being a Fresh Start school that has gone into special measures but everyone has heard of the school. And, after the Washington trip, everyone has heard of me."

Three teachers at the school will be making a 10-day work-related exchange visit to the US this year.

Hull's struggle, 14

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