Essex County Council has joined forces with schools in Essex in an attempt to attract more teachers to the county.
A strategic group, including representatives from Essex County Council, the Association of Secondary Headteachers in Essex (ASHE), the Essex Primary Headteachers’ Association (EPHA) and Essex Special School Education Trust (ESSET), has been formed to explore possible new teacher recruitment strategies.
Supported by funding from the Essex Schools Forum, the group is aiming to help Essex schools recruit teachers from as far afield as Australia, as well as promoting the county to areas of the UK and Ireland where there is a known surplus of teachers. These places include Lancashire, Cheshire and Wales.
The group has also helped fund a graduate internship programme called Step to Teaching, which is being run by Essex County Council’s EES for Schools.
The scheme, which opened last week, offers applicants paid, hands-on experience in Essex schools and training opportunities before they commit themselves to a career in teaching. Successful interns will finish the programme with a wealth of experience and be ready to embark on a teacher training programme with one of the many providers in Essex.
The recruitment group has also initiated a bursary scheme to support those on non-salaried teacher training courses in areas of the county where recruitment of teachers has proved particularly tough.
In addition, discussions have begun about supporting groups of schools facing the greatest difficulties by helping them secure rented houses for teachers, as well as possible subsidised key worker housing.
Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “Essex is on a fantastic school improvement journey, with more than four in five schools currently rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted.
“A strong supply of good quality teachers is vital if that progress is to continue and pupils are to receive the best possible education.
“We actively support schools with the growing challenge of recruitment and I am pleased to be currently working with ASHE, EPHA and ESSET on a number of new strategies to attract teachers to Essex.”
Simon Thompson, ASHE Executive Director, said: “Secondary headteachers in Essex welcome the efforts being made jointly by the county council, ASHE, EPHA and ESSET to attract teachers to come and work in Essex.
“We know that recruitment nationally is currently becoming more difficult for schools and we support this initiative to attract the best teachers to work with schoolchildren in all types of schools in Essex.”
Nigel Hookway, EPHA Executive Director, added: “We are pleased to support the drive to recruit high quality teaching staff to Essex primary schools.
“The difficult challenges facing all schools with recruitment of good quality teachers is reflected across the country. Working with colleagues in the headteacher associations, Essex County Council has been proactive in organising different events to attract teachers from home and abroad.
“We will continue with this process to drive up standards and support all schools in their aim to recruit good quality teaching staff across Essex.”