'Shrewd' applicants are vetting schools

8th September 2000 at 01:00
CHAUCER community school in David Blunkett's Sheffield Brightside constituency has lost nearly a quarter of its staff in the past year.

Headteacher Denise Watson noticed a decline in the number of applicants four years ago, but now the quality of candidates has also started to deteriorate.

The school needs 62 teachers for its 1,000 11 to 16-year-old pupils, but some of its vacancies now take up to two years to fill.

Mrs Watson said: "We had to readvertise for a head of mathematics twice last year, and we still need a head of expressive arts which we advertised for twice last year and will again in September."

She believes that applicants are becoming shrewder and are reluctant to work in schools which could be perceived as challenging. They look harder at education authorities, recent inspection report, and funding levels.

On the other side of the country Bedwellty comprehensive, in Aberbargoed, South Wales, has had to rely on the chair of governor's daughter - a qualified Welsh language teacher - to step in when things became desperate.

Terry McCarthy, the head, said his school's "unjustified reputation" has hindered his search for good staff. "The school had been considered to be failing and is in a difficult social area," he said.

The school needs 28 full-time teachers for its 470 pupils. However, traditional recruitment methods have failed and Mr McCarthy has had to rely on word-of-mouth to fill vacancies this year. Finding Welsh language teachers has been a particular headache.

Mr McCarthy said: "But my chair of governor's daughter volunteered to do the job as long as I needed her."

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today