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Recruitment advice

Recruitment advice

Can you avoid recruiting?

There are a number of things to consider before deciding if you need to recruit which may help you to avoid having to recruit or enable you to do it in a more planned way.

All roles

Plan ahead – do you have a succession plan for the school?  This should identify training and development opportunities for staff and could also help to identify acting up arrangements for both planned absences and unplanned ones.  This may help with retention if Teachers can see a planned career path and development. Please see the retention section of this toolkit for guidance on succession planning.

Do you have any part-time members of staff doing the same/similar role who would be willing to increase their hours of work?  You could offer this opportunity to your  existing workforce to save the need to recruit an additional person.

Consider advertising the role on a secondment basis to staff from other schools.  A secondment could be for half a day per week for a half-term or full-time for an academic year. The member of staff would remain on the payroll of their current school and you would reimburse their school for their pay. This arrangement is beneficial to staff as it enables them to gain valuable experience and CPD in another setting, without having to leave their current role.  It’s beneficial to the releasing school as they could look to backfill the role at a lower cost using an NQT or unqualified teacher.  It is beneficial to the recruiting school as they don’t need to go through all the pre-employment checks for the secondee.  We’ve produced some guidance on how this might work. 

View secondments guidance

See attached guidance on job share. 

Points to consider when preparing a school job share policy
Points to consider when designing a specific Job Share
Interview questions specifically related to a Job Share partnership

Headteacher roles

Plan ahead – Headteachers aged 55+ can opt for phased retirement, allowing a Deputy to act up on the Heads non-working days.   This provides the Deputy with some good experience and development while maintaining stability. 

Could your school share a Head with another school?  Is there another/other local schools that you could work with to share one Head?  This could save you a considerable amount of money in terms of salary – even if you needed to put in an additional Deputy/Assistant. 

Is your school looking to form a federation/become part of an academy trust – if so is this the time to put in place a temporary Head while this process is explored/completed.  Again this could save you a considerable amount of money.

If you have a strong team of Deputy/Assistant Heads – could you consider a rota whereby each person takes it in turn to act as Head for a term/school year?  This would again generate considerable savings and could provide an opportunity for another member of staff to act-up to the Deputy/Assistant role and therefore gain development and experience.

Can any of the duties of the Head be assigned to a different member of staff (existing or new), which may mean you can consider a part-time candidate?  This would provide salary savings and may open up a wider pool of candidates for your role.  It’s extremely rare that we see part-time Head vacancies and this may be very attractive for some applicants, hopefully generating a good response.

Teaching roles

Have you joined a Teaching School Group?  This can be a very good way of ensuring a good flow of candidates and there’s lots of evidence that Trainee Teachers want to work in schools where they’ve done a placement.

Consider advertising a role as a part-time or job share opportunity, this may attract a wider group of applicants than full-time roles.

Can you put an LSA into every Maths/Science class to support the Teacher?  This may be a selling point to candidates as it shows there is extra support for them in your school.

Do you have any Higher LSAs who can take a class to either give the Teacher time to spend with a group within the class or more time for PPA on a regular basis?

Can you work with local businesses and/or volunteers to have regular visitors to spend time within the class/with groups to help support the Teacher?  This may have the added benefit of providing additional support for work experience placements and careers events.  Remember DBS checks.

Learning Support Assistant roles

Consider liaising with local apprenticeship providers such as SEAC, Aylesbury College, ATG Training, E4S and Amersham College.  Apprentices can be very successful and can offer a good flow of permanent candidates. 

Building relationships with local colleges who offer Childcare training/qualifications may help raise your profile as a local recruiter of child related roles.  You can also offer work experience to these colleges and/offer to do a brief talk to a group of students.

Build relationships with local secondary school 6th forms – many of them require their 6th form students to carry out community work and supporting children in a primary school on a regular basis would benefit the students and you and also provide a channel for future recruitment.

Consider advertising the role on a more part-time basis – such as 1 LSA who covers the mornings and another one who covers the afternoons or 2 who cover 2.5 days per week.  These may be more attractive hours to some people as it will allow them to get on with other caring/domestic/training etc activities.  This would need to be balanced with also having some full-time LSAs.

Explore having a rota for parents/grandparents of pupils at your school to help and set this as an expectation – this may not fully solve the recruitment problem but may help to reduce the urgency of vacancies.  You could also do this when you need a project to be completed – such as preparing books/trays for the new school year and auditing library books etc.

Recruiting an apprentice

Please see our apprenticeships page

Defining your recruitment needs

Before you consider advertising your role, you need to be clear on what you are trying to recruit and what skills, experience and qualifications are required for the job.

Ensure you have reviewed and updated the job description and person specification, ensuring these documents have safeguarding statements included.  Why not look at adverts for similar roles to see what other people are including in their documents.

Attracting candidates

So once, you are clear about the job description and person specification, you now need to attract candidates to apply for the role.  This is sometimes a step which is not given as much consideration as it requires.  We’ve created some guidance to help you give candidates the best experience possible, which will make it more likely they will accept your job offer and talk positively about your school.  

Candidate experience

Template adverts

We don’t want all our adverts to look or feel the same but hope that these will provide you with some ideas.

Template advert- Administration role
Template advert – Caretaker role
Template advert – Cleaner role
Template advert - Cook Chef
Template advert – LSA role
Template advert – Midday Supervisor role
Template advert – Primary Headteacher role
Template advert – Primary Teacher role
Template advert – Secondary Teacher role

Firstly, write an advert, which sells the job and the school to candidates, but is honest about any challenges the candidate may face.  Look for unique selling points for your school – talk to recent recruits to see what attracted them to your school.  If you haven’t recently done so, you may want to review or create key values for your school.

How to create/review values

Your advert should include:

  1. An opening overview about the role and school to entice candidates to read more.
  2. A paragraph about your school, its ethos, approaches to teaching and learning and including a link to your website so that candidates can easily find out more about your school.
  3. A section about the role, what are the key elements of the role, what you can offer candidates.
  4. A section about the type of person you’re looking for, what attributes should they have.
  5. A section on how to apply, the closing date for applications, interview dates, where to send applications, who to contact for more information and/or a tour.  A safeguarding statement should always be included.

Here are some thoughts to help your advert stand out

Produce a 1-2 minute recruitment video so that candidates get more of a sense of your school.  The BCC Resourcing team can help you with this.

Write the advert from the perspective of a child at your school, this may work particularly well if you are seeking a dedicated LSA to work with a named child.

If you are seeking a foreign language teacher, why not write your advert in the language required.

If you are seeking a Maths teacher why not write an equation in your advert heading such as SKILL + RESULTS = CAREER PROGRESSION.

Seeking a caretaker why not show a picture of a broken desk and say ‘if you feel like looking away, then go the next advert, if you feel a nice to fix this, then come and talk to us about joining us.’

Seeking a midday supervisor – why not show a plate of food with words on the plate to show the skills you’re looking for instead of a picture of food.

Next, gather your job description and person specification and any other documents it would be helpful for candidates to see.  For leadership roles we would encourage schools to create a candidate pack which includes a welcome letter from the Head or Chair of Governors, more detailed information on the school and a summary of the latest OFSTED report.  Is your website up-to-date and relevant for applicants?

Guidance on reviewing your website

Now you are ready to publish your advert.  The BCC Resourcing team can help you to get your advert noticed.  We’d recommend publishing your job on the BCC recruitment website which is generating around 4 million hits per year.  Looking at Primary Headteacher recruitment in 2015/16, 75% of successful candidates saw the advert on the BCC website, with just 25% seeing the advert in the TES.  Adverts from the BCC website are also picked up and re-advertised for free on a number of other websites including E-teach, Indeed, Glassdoor, Jobisjob, Jobrapido, Adzuna, Neuvo, Newsnow etc   Adverts on the BCC website also trigger automated job alerts to candidates who are seeking similar roles.

We’d recommend allowing candidates around 2 weeks in which to apply, this should allow candidates time to visit the school and ideally 2 weekends to complete their application.  Please be mindful of school holidays when some candidates may be away.

The BCC Resourcing team can help you to promote your advert on professional networks such as Linked-in and on social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook. 

If you do not attract sufficient good quality applications, please get in touch with the BCC Resourcing team who can help.

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