Proactive workforce planning – the change schools need to make

The recruitment scene has changed, the pond is significantly smaller, and if you fail to act quickly you may miss out on the talent. Our friends at eTeach share some recruitment insight, providing a new approach to the challenge of recruitment – one that is already yielding significant results for some schools

Corporate businesses have successfully had a handle on their recruitment processes for years but for schools the issue is still an insurmountable mystery. Formal workforce planning is woefully underutilised in the education sector and schools pay the price as cash flows away to unscheduled agency spend.

The task is not to be underestimated: 15 years ago, teacher candidates were plentiful and the application forms were paper, which meant that three weeks, or more, had to be left after advertising to allow the forms to trickle in. After that, it was commonplace for the school to gather its leadership and governors for a longwinded shortlisting and interview process for the ten people who had applied.

Now, the recruitment landscape has shifted dramatically. Some teaching posts attract no applicants at all. Nonetheless, many schools continue to advertise only when a vacancy arises. A three week wait before making a personal phone call only allows teachers who had previously been so keen to work for you to be snapped up by competitors.

Recruitment agencies are consistently misused by schools – for costly urgent headhunting. The long-term quality of your staff is under threat; surely now is the time to take back control?

How to change your approach

The simple change you can make is to switch to a proactive approach to recruitment putting you back in control. By actively marketing your school and vacancies year-round, you are the driving force behind your recruitment. To do this successfully, you’ll need to:

  1. Analyse

Before creating your proactive strategy, you need to understand the peaks in your recruitment year. Look at your previous two years to see which months bring a rush in recruitment spending.

  1. Market your employer brand year-round

The second step in proactive recruiting is to drive a constant stream of candidates to your school by advertising year-round, preferably for a fixed cost. Then, vitally, capture applicant details in a talent pool and nurture them with regular school news. Even if they aren’t right for you today, they could be in a few years. The eTeach annual licence gives you unlimited advertising (including for leadership roles) on

  1. Offer online or instant applications

Our research showed overwhelmingly that job hunting teachers are tired of lengthy application forms and now cherry-pick which adverts to apply for based on which schools they can find favourable information for online. Your school needs to have a credible presence online and the application form you offer must be brief and electronic.

  1. Make personal contact

Finally, call each applicant personally or nominate a candidate engagement officer to do all of the above for your school brand. If you don’t, the next school up the road will.

For more information about how to use eTeach tools to cut your recruitment spend for good, visit or call us on 0845 226 1906.

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