Tackling recruitment challenges in the education sector

15 May 2017


With a general election fast approaching, staffing issues will be one of the key concerns for whoever is responsible for education after 8 June.

With this in mind, we’ve picked out three of the key issues in education which affect our members.

Teacher shortages are an ongoing problem

With only four subjects managing to meet recruitment targets from the supply teacher model for 2016 to 2017, and with the number of pupils set to increase, schools will need to plan for the challenge of recruiting enough teachers.

It will become more important to look beyond the normal recruitment channels, and demand for supply teachers may increase as schools seek to ensure that classrooms are properly staffed.

New procurement framework in education

With the pressure of public sector spending set to continue, the government is planning to introduce a procurement framework to the supply of teachers.

Before finalising an agreement there needs to be sufficient consultation with all stakeholders, both public and private. The government must consider all that goes into the effective and safe supply of temporary staff in schools, and ensure that any framework agreement is viable for agencies of all sizes, particularly smaller businesses, and those with regional specialism.

Further consideration must also be given so that any framework which is embarked on offers the government a worthwhile return on their investment. The REC is engaging with the DfE and the CCS and we will continue to feed in to the pre-market consultation.

New technologies and safeguarding

We’ve seen a proliferation of uber-style teacher recruitment apps in education, in response to the ongoing recruitment and retention crisis. In many instances these apps do not carry out face to face interviews prior to placing candidates, and are not subject to the same regulations as agencies.

School leaders and business managers need to be aware of the dangers presented when robust compliance and safeguarding procedures are not followed. It’s crucial that there’s a level playing field, so that all organisations placing staff in schools hold the robust compliance and safeguarding requirements expected of REC members.

The REC will continue to work closely with education unions and other stakeholders to ensure that schools are made aware that REC members have been independently quality-checked. This includes recent collaboration between the REC and NAHT to clarify our Code of Practice to school leaders, as outlined in the NAHT’s guidance document to schools. This makes clear that the NAHT recommends that schools and academies work with agencies that are beholden to the REC Code.

For more information on future challenges in the sector, please find the REC’s essential guide to safeguarding and good recruitment practice in the education – Putting Pupils First.

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