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5 ways to control teacher recruitment costs

Mitigating the high costs of recruiting teachers is a constant challenge for school leaders everywhere. Here are five ways to maximise recruitment budget.

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Head teachers are under pressure to find educators with the right skills. But finding qualified teachers with the right experience and expertise can be expensive, with Government figures the average cost thought to run to £1,000 per advert with some agencies.

Here are five ways to mitigate the high costs of recruiting in education.

1. Scrutinise your budget

If you want to maximise your recruitment budget, you first have to know where it is going. So, one of the first things you should do is map out your current spend. Armed with this information, you then need to establish what is working, and any recruitment channels that are not delivering for you.

Next, you need to identify where you can make cost-savings. For example, if you are regularly using supply teachers to cover staff absence, look at what you can do to improve attendance and reduce this expenditure.

Likewise, if you are spending a lot on senior management costs, you might want to consider a flexible SMT where middle leaders get involved in leadership meetings and decisions on a flexible/part-time basis. Not only does this reduce the amount of senior staff needed, but it can also help contribute towards your professional development strategy.

You should also create a recruitment strategy to future-proof your staffing decisions. Things such as projected pupil numbers, expected local developments (e.g. increased housing or any nearby school closures) and subject trends should inform this strategy, as well as anything else that might have an impact on your future recruiting needs.

2. Use the new DFE teaching vacancies website

Earlier this year, a new teacher recruitment service was launched that is predicted to save schools millions. The Teaching Vacancies website allows schools to advertise full, part-time and job-share roles for free.

The initiative forms part of steps taken by the DfE to help schools clamp down on costs. It is hoped that the money saved every year on recruitment will now be invested back into teaching.

All publicly-funded schools in England can now use the new Teaching Vacancies service. As well as allowing schools to list their teaching vacancies for free, the site also works as a job board through which educators can apply for teaching jobs. Increasing the visibility and reach of job posts, the service also shares any vacancies across other websites.

You can access the Teaching Vacancies platform and sign up for the service here.

3. Choose the right recruitment partner

Recruitment agencies can be hugely beneficial to schools looking for the right staff, but the fees for using a recruiter can be high, especially for hard to fill positions. So, if you choose to use agencies, the costs can mount up.

To help you keep your budget under control, it’s worth finding a recruitment partner that offers a range of cost-effective benefits. For example:

  • Low-cost advertising
  • An annual subscription with unlimited adverts
  • Agencies that do not charge extra fees if supply staff are made permanent after a set time
  • Discounted rates if you use them regularly or for other services

Also, be sure to ask any recruiter for a full list of fees to make sure there are no nasty surprises.

4. Take advantage of social media

Social media has created a new avenue for schools looking for the best talent. For example, you can create targeted job posts on LinkedIn and use hashtags such as #SchoolsJobs and #TeacherJobs to reach out to the right candidates on Twitter.

But recruitment on social media is about more than just creating job advertisements. You should also use your social platforms to showcase why your school is a great place to work. In doing this, you will organically attract candidates and even receive CVs before a vacancy occurs.

Reduce staff turnover

If you really want to reduce recruitment costs, the single most effective thing you can do is to retain more staff by preventing resignations from happening.

Here are some top tips to create a positive school culture and keep your teachers happy:

  • Recognise teachers’ efforts. One of the most natural things you can do to support your teachers is to tell them how valued they are
  • Discuss development opportunities. Show teachers that you are committed to their future at your school by offering opportunities for development
  • Encourage feedback. Asking teachers for their input into school decisions can be a massive boost to teacher morale
  • Help teachers keep students engaged. Any efforts to keep pupils engaged and behaving well are going to make life easier for everyone at your school. Find out more about how to boost student engagement here
  • Deploy the right tech. Teachers don’t want to waste precious hours because they don’t have the tools they need to do their jobs. As such, investing in the right technology to help reduce the burden of things like marketing and lesson prep is crucial. For example, the Promethean ActivPanel supports online assessment and general data entry thus giving your teachers more time to teach, and less time wasted handling paperwork
  • Create a wellbeing culture. Mindfulness and wellbeing are more than just buzzwords. With 3,750 teachers signed off on long-term sick leave last year due to pressures of work, anxiety and mental illness, finding ways to combat the challenges of poor mental health is now vital. Find out more about how to create a wellbeing culture with The Thriving Teachers programme
  • Offer flexible working. Compared to other sectors, education is really behind on flexible working. But this needs to be addressed if we are to find ways to keep teachers in the profession who might otherwise leave for good. The Flexible Teacher Talent initiative provides more details about how to normalise flexible working in your school
  • Employ the right people. When it comes to staff retention, it’s essential to recruit the right people in the first place. Every school has different needs when it comes to hiring teachers, and it’s vital that the people in charge of hiring understand what these are.

Ultimately, while the high costs of recruiting teachers is a constant challenge for head teachers across the UK, by following these five steps, school leaders can reduce the amount they are spending to find and attract quality staff, and make it easier to keep those teachers already in place.