Teachers in shortage subjects or roles are being offered corporate type benefits, including gym memberships and cash bonuses by schools in order to attract and retain particular skilled teachers.
Other benefits schools are offering include: childcare schemes, relocation schemes, legal and associated expenses for moving, removals, jobs for partners and temporary/initial housing costs.
Due to the recruitment crisis schools are increasingly having to use new and innovative ways to reach out to potential recruits, from extended remuneration packages such as healthcare and relocation schemes to improved career development programmes to clinch the best talent.
Robbie O’Driscoll, group commercial director at Eteach explained the teacher recruitment crisis is the “not an isolated problem and it’s not going away.
“As competition between schools is increasing, there is an intense battle for recruiting and retaining top talent.
For some schools, location can be a real challenge to attract top teacher talent which is why a number of schools, particularly in London, will assist and in some case provide accommodation in order to attract and retain top teacher talent.
Mike Clinch, Headmaster at St Illtyds’s Catholic High School in Cardiff found that location was an issues for him in recruiting Maths teachers last year, “We created a benefits package to appeal to potential candidates across the country. The package included a golden hello, a substantial relocation package and travel expenses including toll bridge payments.”
Travel also seems to be real issues, with teachers travelling to London being offered substantial reductions on season tickets for the tube. In some instances, teachers are being offered interest free loans of up to £2,000 to accommodate travel costs.
Some benefits are not as practical as travel or relocation, some schools across London and the South West are offering luxury benefits such as gym memberships or a range of private healthcare packages with senior leadership professionals offered memberships at more luxurious facilities.
So how has this become more common place? Schools and trusts now have greater freedoms to offer improved packages to teachers in shortage subjects meaning they will often pay off scale for the relevant experience of the teacher and with the most experienced teachers they will see improved remuneration packages and pay rises in order to retain them.
“Over the last parliament we made it easier than ever before for schools to tailor how they recruit, pay and retain their staff – including allowing them to pay their best staff more. We welcome the fact that schools are embracing these new flexibilities.”
These incentives are not dissimilar to Government schemes in attracting teacher talent to train. The DfE offers bursaries in priority subjects, and has a £67m package to improve science, technology, engineering and maths teaching in England encouraging top graduates to consider training to teach priority subjects like maths, physics and computing with bursaries worth up to £25,000 and impressive scholarships.
An economic recovery has meant graduates have now more options and some are opting for better-paid jobs in the City. Concerns over growing workload has also put many off the professions and there is evidence that many more are planning on leaving the profession altogether.
But are these incentives working? Mike Clinch, Headmaster at St Illtyds’s Catholic High School in Cardiff seems to think so! “We recruited five maths teachers and now have completely revitalised our maths department. The teachers we recruited are excellent and are thriving within the school.”
What do you think of the new era of ‘Golden Hellos’? Will this make you think before accepting your next teaching contract? Have your say…