Special measures. Ugly. No head. You'll love it

11th May 2001 at 01:00
An Essex school is using shock tactics to attract new recruits.

West Thurrock county primary school has gone for brutal honesty in its job advertisement which reads: "Special Measures. No Headteacher. Ugly building. You'll Love It."

It received no enquiries after advertising initially before Christmas in a conventional ad. But following the "honest" ad in The TES last week, it has had more than half a dozen requests for further details about vacancies in maths, science and technology.

Acting headteacher Tracey Thornton said that the school was facing particular difficulties since it had been put on special measures, and had not had a full-time head for four years.

"When we advertised in the normal way, we got no response, but following this advert in which we used brutal honesty, we have had seven enquiries bout the posts," said Ms Thornton.

"We had a meeting with an advertising agency and they came up with three different possible ads, and this was the most striking. The ad was approved by the school governors.

"We wanted to be honest and upfront about the school as we thought that it would attract the sort of teachers who would want to work at the school. We are competing against many other schools for good candidates so we have to do something to make ourselves stand out from the rest."

Recruitment analyst John Howson said that this kind of approach had cropped up from time to time in recent years as schools tried fresh ways of attracting applicants.

"This method of being totally frank usually draws in the masochists and the missionaries and it's one way of getting noticed," said Professor Howson.

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