Teacher shortages the most serious challenge to turning around the fortunes of Fenland schools says Beaupre, Outwell, head teacher

PUBLISHED: 18:06 11 December 2015 | UPDATED: 18:07 11 December 2015

Owen Rhodes, head teacher of Beaupre primary school in Outwell.

Owen Rhodes, head teacher of Beaupre primary school in Outwell.

Archant

Teacher shortages are the most serious challenge to turning around the fortunes of Fenland schools, says a head master.

Owen Rhodes, head of Beaupre primary school in Outwell, says finding good teachers is one of the key reasons why schools are struggling to raise standards.

He said: “The challenge of recruitment is currently the most serious barrier to school improvement we face.

“You can’t a wave 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.”

His school is one of a number across Cambridgeshire that have put together a recruitment campaign – including launching a video on YouTube- to attract staff.

Teach in Cambridgeshire is a campaign started by schools in the area to encourage newly qualified teachers to come to Cambridgeshire.Teach in Cambridgeshire is a campaign started by schools in the area to encourage newly qualified teachers to come to Cambridgeshire.

The schools, working with Cambridgeshire County Council, have launched a new website – www.teachincambs.org.uk – which includes details about Cambridgeshire and what the county has to offer, its schools and current vacancies, plus information about housing and transport.

The campaign follows research conducted by teaching recruitment agency TeachVac which revealed that secondary schools in the East have advertised, on average, 6.74 teaching posts this year.

The group is also working with online recruitment site E-teach to give schools their own dedicated microsites on which to advertise posts and manage their applications. They are also running events for prospective newly qualified teachers (NQTs) – starting with its first event at Hinchingbrooke School in Huntingdon on January 20 2016.

The event will see senior leaders from schools across the county give advice on how to apply for jobs and to meet NQTs from various schools to find out what life is like as a newly qualified teacher.

The group has also developed an internship programme, where interns are paid to gain experience in a school for a year, before moving onto year two and formal training.

Helen Manley, a senior teaching advisers to the county council, said: “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.”

Beaupre primary school fact file:

- School has 166 pupils aged four to 11.

- Achieved a grading of ‘good’ following its most recent Ofsted inspection in July 2014 - an improvement from its previous grading of ‘requires improvement’ in 2012.

- Ofsted said teachers at the school “provide pupils with exciting activities that fire their imaginations.”


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