A new report outlines current recruitment challenges, where they are causing the most problems and how they can be addressed
The Sutton Trust has released its latest report on the recruitment gap in schools.
It found that schools in disadvantaged communities have a harder time recruiting suitable teachers, and that social inequalities are more of an issue in secondary schools.
Maths and the sciences are the most difficult teaching roles to fill in disadvantaged regions.
As a result of these inequalities, the research also found that teachers in secondary schools within disadvantaged communities are more likely to say that the will love the profession soon and/or are less attached to their job.
Overwhelmingly, teachers said that schools in disadvantaged communities require harder work and more skill, compared with more attractive, affluent areas.
The report also suggests that staff shortages would be best dealt with via local recruitment strategies.
80% of teachers said they would be willing to consider moving to a local school with recruitment challenges under the right conditions, and those conditions don’t have to be expensive as many lower marking loads, training opportunities and mentoring can be as attractive as better pay and reduced timetables.
Commenting on The Recruitment Gap: Attracting teachers to schools serving disadvantaged communities, Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“This report shows very clearly that the teacher recruitment and retention crisis is most sharply felt in schools serving disadvantaged communities thus making it more difficult to raise educational standards and close the social divide.
“One thing that the government could do immediately to tackle this issue is to review an accountability system which often stigmatises these schools and makes it more difficult to recruit and retain teachers and leaders.
“School performance tables use measures that effectively penalise schools in disadvantaged communities, and the inspection system judges struggling schools with the blunt label of ‘inadequate’ which inevitably makes recruitment and improvement much harder to achieve.
“We need a system in which teachers and leaders aspire to work in schools serving disadvantaged communities and a good start would be to put an end to the language of failure.”