How to Attract and Retain the Best Educators

There’s been a lot of buzz about the talent shortage across industries, particularly in a year when one in four UK workers indicate they’re considering a job change. Unsurprisingly, schools are among the hardest hit—record numbers of early career teachers leave the profession after just one year in the classroom.

Those figures may sound frightening, but there is a silver lining for schools in the UK. More new teachers are entering the profession than leaving, and the number who stay on for two years or longer looks to be on the rise.

However, these statistics do mean that schools should be paying attention. Hiring (and retaining) the best tutors, teaching assistants, teachers, and SEN educators is more important now than ever before. 

This week, we’re sharing three steps to help you do just that.

1: Become an Employer of Choice

Yes, you can find the best educators where they are (and we’ll get to that shortly). But you’ll get a higher-quality pool of candidates by “selling” your institution to them as an employer of choice, encouraging them to find you first.

Find your USP (unique selling proposition)

Ultimately, your school is an organisation trying to make a splash in a crowded marketplace. Consider the qualities that set you apart from other schools nearby. What makes your school and its students unique? How can prospective educators make a difference there? 

Time and time again, teachers tell us that the most rewarding aspect of educating students is “making a difference”—beating out salary, geography, prestige, and several other indicators.

An essential aspect of defining your “employer brand” is to be open and honest with your candidates. Share some of your school’s challenges in addition to the upsides. A bit of candour up front will save you some turnover after year one.

Get active online

Tell your school’s story online, and make sure that story is unique. Your voice will get lost if you’re creating the same content as every other school nearby. Leverage social media, your website, and content from current educators to present honest, personalised insight to candidates.

Do your best to present an accurate picture of what your school, educators, and pupils are like. And make sure to present the benefits—or what teachers will gain from working there—before sharing the practical features of your open positions.

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2: Measure the impact of your actions

Once you’ve got high-quality educators in the door, the goal is to keep them there. Interestingly, research shows that financial incentives can effectively attract new teachers, but they don’t help retain them.

At every stage in the “life cycle” of an educator at your school, make an effort to ensure they have support structures in place. Mentoring programmes, support staff, and teacher development resources are practical tools to keep teachers engaged and happy in their roles.

Curious if your actions are working as intended? Leverage data on staff turnover, recruitment costs, and annual spend on supply teachers. You’ll make better-informed decisions about how and where to direct your budget for the greatest return. (Shockingly, one in four schools don’t monitor the rate of employee turnover or the overall cost of recruitment, and these numbers add up quickly.)

3: Begin with the end in mind

Create a long-term recruitment strategy that includes contingency planning for possible challenges. For example, is there a shortage of maths or science educators in your area? Don’t wait until you’re facing several open roles in STEM to draft a detailed plan on how you’ll fill the gaps.

Also, be sure to align your staffing plans with your five- and ten-year institutional goals. If you aim to produce pupils who earn the highest test scores in your region, craft a hiring plan with that end in mind. If your focus is on being the best school for SEN students, allocate resources to specialists accordingly.

Even the best schools need help with recruitment. We specialise in pairing schools with the best educators on the market. Email Jen at [email protected] to book a call to discuss your needs further.

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