It looks like it'll take more than advertising to boost teacher recruitment - 3 April 2013
For schools to function, many new teachers need to be hired each year. This September will be no different, with schools aiming at a target of 38,000 new recruits to match projected demand.
But how do you keep the flow of newly qualified and student teachers steady, or even climbing? Finding all these people is a huge task for the government, universities and, increasingly, for schools, which are being asked to train a growing proportion of new entrants.
Of course, there are those who believe they are born to teach - who need no encouragement that a life in the classroom is right for them - but they are very rarely enough to fill the quotas. Most years, the powers that be must also persuade others to choose the chalkface over a different career.
Advertising is often seen as the solution. Who could forget the "those who can, teach", "no one forgets a good teacher" and "use your head, teach" posters and films?
But more recently the tone has changed. Advertisements now bear the slogan "Rewarding. Challenging. Teaching". They feature professional-looking people in sharp suits, and stress the similarities between teaching and corporate careers.
So what it does cost to make sure we have enough teachers? TES can reveal that pound;8 million was spent in 2012 on marketing the profession to potential recruits using television and print adverts, social media such as Twitter, email campaigns and online videos.
To put this in context, the Ministry of Defence spent pound;30 million on recruiting for the armed forces in the same 12-month period, and advertising industry estimates suggest that around pound;60 million a year is spent on advertising the deodorant brand Lynx.
So is the Department for Education getting any "bang for its buck"? The answer, it would seem, is "not really". The number of applicants to English training courses starting in 2012 fell by 12 per cent. And things aren't looking much rosier lately, with figures published yesterday showing that the number of applicants to English universities and other teacher training courses is down by 7.3 per cent compared with the same period last year.
It is worth bearing in mind that this year's numbers are less clear-cut than normal due to new emphasis being put on Schools Direct, a new school-based training route for which application data is yet to be published.
However, while advertising spend may be key, there are clearly still important lessons to be learned as the government battles to recruit top graduates to the classroom.
Don't be afraid to tell the blog's editorEd Dorrellwhat you think
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