A new white paper, Driving the Performance Agenda in Education, from Affinity Workforce, explores steps that school and MAT leaders are taking in order to tackle the teacher recruitment and skills crisis, and to attract high-quality teaching staff.

As many as 85% of school and MAT heads report that they regularly compromise or deviate from their original recruitment specification simply in order to get teachers in to fill vacant positions. Examples of this include compromising on qualifications and skills (46%), cultural fit (44%), experience (44%), or subject specialism (44%).

The research shows that it is not just teacher recruitment that is getting harder; retention of existing teaching staff is also a major worry for school heads. A third (34%) report that the retention of high quality staff has become more challenging in the past two years, and two thirds (68%) are now as concerned about retaining teachers as they are about recruiting them.

Very few education settings have a long-term workforce plan or vision in place. Indeed, 72% of leaders say they are unable to plan more than 9 months ahead, and 41% are unable to plan beyond 6 months ahead. Teacher recruitment chairs

The research highlights the key priorities for schools and MAT leaders looking to address skills shortages within their teaching workforce. Key workforce objectives in 2018/19 include improved workforce planning (97%); development of employer brand (95%); more attractive training/Continuous Professional Development (CPD) offerings for teachers (85%); and enhanced data and reporting capabilities (82%).

Anne Hudson of Woodard Academies Trust, one of a number of senior MAT execs and head teachers who contributed to the research, said: “The challenge of finding and holding onto first rate teachers is now the most pressing concern for senior staff in schools. It’s a never-ending challenge, juggling resource and delivering great education.

"What’s evident from this report is that, as a profession, we need to embrace new ideas and approaches to encourage people into teaching and into our own institutions, and equally importantly, we need to do a better job of developing, motivating and looking after the wellbeing of our teachers.”

Affinity Workforce provides innovative and flexible resourcing solutions to sectors including education. For more information and to read the full report, please visit Affinity Workforce