Education bosses at Buckinghamshire County Council say they are making strenuous efforts to support local schools in the wake of the national difficulty in recruiting teachers.
‘The County Council is currently working closely with headteachers to better understand the challenges school leaders are facing,‘ said Zahir Mohammed, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills. ‘We want to find local solutions that build on existing good practice, as well as learn from the experience of other local authorities.‘
The Council says it is also focusing on helping to improve recruitment and retention as heads plan for a predicted significant increase in school places in Bucks over the next few years.
Cllr Mohammed said: ‘This is a massive challenge because the number of classes will grow substantially over the next few years.
However, the good news for Buckinghamshire is that we have already taken steps to address this crucial issue, and we have plans in place to do a lot more. We are working with schools to do as much as we possibly can to address this.‘
Cllr Mohammed said a number of initiatives have already been set in motion by both the Council and schools in the county. These include: an induction programme for new headteachers; high-quality professional support for heads acting as mentors; scholarships for middle and senior leader candidates in primary schools and the formation of consortiums of teaching schools.
The Council is also setting up new recruitment webpages and is working with schools to improve recruitment adverts.
He added: ‘Plans for the future include the creation of a strong pipeline of candidates. This will be done by regularly and effectively updating the Council’s recruitment website, creating a talent pool of candidates, forging stronger links with industry, supporting our teachers in the classroom and really focusing on succession planning.‘
In addition, the Council and schools will work on improving recruitment of high-calibre staff by looking at benefits packages and schools will be encouraged to share good practice around workload challenges.
‘We are very mindful of the need to improve retention by looking at what we can do to retain and develop staff,‘ said Cllr Mohammed who stressed that the education system in the county is currently working extremely well.
‘Buckinghamshire has an excellent record of high academic achievements – 90% of schools at the end of June 2016 had a good or outstanding OFSTED report.
We have done really well, and with a bit of forward planning and co-ordination between schools and the Council, there is no reason this success story cannot continue, even with the surge in the number of pupil places required.‘