Due to the teaching shortage around the UK and a lack of graduates training to be teachers in certain subject areas, a teaching training group has started seeking recruits from southern Europe. A campaign in Suffolk and Norfolk to lure Europe’s brightest graduates has been launched. This campaign is targeting students from Italy, Portugal and Greece. The teacher training group have said they hope it attracts and brings “untapped talent” to East Anglia.
The project run by the partnership, Suffolk and Norfolk Initial Teacher Training (SNITT) and West Suffolk College represents Norfolk and Suffolk council which consists of over 100 schools, plans to support successful applicants in gaining professional teaching qualification before they take up teaching posts in local schools and colleges. The aim is to target graduates in maths, physics, chemistry, computing and modern foreign languages. The graduates from Greece, Portugal and Italy are being offered up to £30,000 to train as teachers in these subjects. Suffolk and Norfolk initial teaching training Group (SNITT) said that due to ‘the region’s economy growth and with science and technology playing an increasingly important role, the need for inspiring and engaging teachers in these subjects has never been greater.’ However due to the current teaching recruitment crisis it is proving extremely challenging to attract top graduates for these subjects the training group need to be “proactive” and therefore are searching overseas to find the best teaching talent in key shortage subjects. The teacher training group also stated how each trainee will need to sign a “declaration” agreeing to stay for the two years. But is this the right way to counter the issue?
Hilary Buckey, regional secretary for the National Union of Teachers (NUT), recognises there is a nationwide issue with teacher recruitment “we are very soon going to have a teacher shortage crisis because teaching is not seen as an attractive profession and a lot of people are seeking to get out of it”. However Hilary accused the training partnership of “picking the soft targets” of struggling southern European countries with high levels of unemployment. The regional secretary believes the teacher training group should be looking to find ways of lowering bureaucracy, paperwork and improving working conditions to ease the current domestic recruitment “challenge” rather than “plundering” talent from southern Europe.
So is this the way forward for the UK? Does the answer lie in foreign teachers to resolve our teacher recruitment crisis, or should more focus be on improving workload and working conditions? The UK seems to make it a habit to look elsewhere when there is a skills shortage at home… Have your say.