Cambridgeshire schools unite to beat crisis

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Schools in Cambridgeshire have a launched a campaign and a new website to help solve the teacher recruitment crisis in the county.

A group of schools, working with Cambridgeshire County Council, has put together a recruitment campaign to attract high quality staff.

The new website – www.teachincambs.org.uk – includes details about Cambridgeshire and what it has to offer.

Owen Rhodes, head of Beaupre Primary School in Outwell, sees the difficulty in recruiting as one of the key reasons why schools are struggling to raise standards.

He said: “You can’t wave a magic wand, but if you could, I believe that solving recruitment would have a bigger effect than any other single matter to improve schools in Cambridgeshire.”

The group is working with online recruitment site E-teach to give schools their own dedicated microsites on which to advertise posts and manage their applications and is running events for prospective newly-qualified teachers (NQTs).

On January 20 secondary trainee teachers are invited to Hinchingbrooke School where senior leaders from county schools will advise them on how to apply for jobs and how to sell themselves.

There is also a ‘pool’ for Primary School NQTs to apply to join. Once they have been interviewed and recommended, they will be invited to consider vacancies.

The group has also developed an alternative route to Qualified Teacher Status, for those who are considering training to be a teacher. The internship programme is being offered whereby interns are paid to gain experience in a school for a year, before moving onto year two and formal training.

Helen Manley, Senior Adviser: Curriculum, Teaching & Leadership for Cambridgeshire County Council, explains: “There are lots of opportunities in Cambridgeshire to train to be a teacher, including at the University’s Faculty of Education and via the School Direct ITT programmes. We wanted to complement these by providing a route for those who are not yet sure they want to be a teacher or who are ineligible for the salaried School Direct programme, and who would prefer not to pay £9000 in fees. The internship is a two year programme, with the first year devoted to school experience and the second to achieving Qualified Teacher Status. Interns will be paid a total of £19000 over the two years. We have a group of schools who are hoping to appoint interns and are confident applicants will come forward.”

It is not going to be easy to recruit enough high quality school staff for Cambridgeshire, given the teacher shortage across the country and especially in the Eastern region, but the Cambridgeshire Schools Group is confident that it has made a positive start.