March 2022 edition: Growing Your Own Talent

Growing Your Own Talent

Just to be clear, this is not some sort of “weird science” Sci-Fi article that involves cryo-chambers and inordinate amounts of dry-ice. Nor is it a particularly new concept for many Trusts who are leading strategic thinking on the attraction, retention and rewarding of talented individuals. Rather than stretch your credibility on the capabilities of cloning, this article simply aims to encourage you to think about different ways of collaboration to solve some of the issues being experienced with Talent Acquisition and Talent Management.

The obstacles faced by Trusts due to the pandemic have caused some perplexing anomalies to traditional recruitment cycles. 2020 saw a deceptive period of ‘recruitment calm’ with very little movement of teachers between schools and advertised posts at a record low. Overall ITT targets were achieved for the first time ever – albeit with a very heavy bias toward Primary. But this academic year has seen a continued rise in staff absence, resulting in serious staff shortages in schools. The impact of this has been particularly seen in the availability of teaching support staff; an issue scarcely mentioned or reported on in official recruitment stats, yet one that profoundly affects the quality of learning taking place in our schools. It also appears the encouraging rise in the number of ITT placements was short-lived and school leaders are back to scratching their heads, trying to fill seemingly unfillable vacancies at volume.

How helpful would it be if Trusts could assess and determine how likely it is talented individuals would go on to become successful and committed teachers of the future?

Derek Lefley

Back to support staff, though. No doubt the allure of making a difference to lives of young people remains the dominant source of motivation for those seeking a career in education. Yet, the challenge of working throughout a pandemic has cast a spotlight on the frailty of support staff retention. Perhaps the biggest elephant in the room is pay and remuneration; an incentive that often robs education of the opportunity to compete for talent. With the greatest will in the world, most school leaders will struggle to attract and retain the best people with what can optimistically be described as a ‘modest salary’.

So then, attraction of quality support staff clearly requires some serious thought. Whilst there is great innovation occurring in Trusts, much of the thinking around people strategy remains deeply embedded in traditional methods of talent management. A more robust and sustainable strategy requires not just different thinking but also engaging and partnering with organisations in new ways to achieve key recruitment goals.

As a market leader in Education recruitment, Teaching Personnel have been thinking deeply about this crisis for several years. How can a recruitment partner help a Trust attract bright young individuals with promise into schools? How can we support Trusts in giving talent relevant, positive experiences, that allow them to gain a deep insight into a career in education? How helpful would it be if Trusts could assess and determine how likely it is talented individuals would go on to become successful and committed teachers of the future?

Our Future Teachers Programme was born from this thinking and, whilst it has been in existence for some time, the pandemic has seen it develop and grow in scope and scale as relationships and partnerships with Trusts and ITT providers have become more profound. For those of us involved in its careful midwifery, there is a deep sense of excitement in its potential for the profession.

Core to this programme is a partnership supporting schools with the attraction, recruitment, retention and development of graduates and their transition from aspirant to qualified teacher. By introducing graduates into support roles, linked to relevant ITT partners, (including teaching school hubs, SCITT leads, School Trusts, universities and in house ITT programmes) we are increasingly seeing talent nurtured to become not only future teachers, but future leaders in schools. Developing these partnerships, where expertise is utilised to carve out a meaningful pathway for graduates from their very first day in school, we are now utilising our own recruitment expertise to start attracting talent at scale.

Many Trust leaders recognise the benefits of public-private collaboration and partnership. It is a model that supports the aims of Trusts as civic structures. But there is also a certain amount of natural resistance to the concept of such collaboration with the likes of agencies who surely just do supply, right? Some do, yes, and are content with that. Some of us, however, are nimble, innovative, and knowledgeable partners who can work with Trusts to support their people strategies in exciting and unexpected ways. As curious consultants, we can provide some inspiring solutions to the challenges faced by Trusts - such as our Future Teacher Programme.

Curiosity is always a good thing. Developing such curiosity to look at new ways of collaboration can only strengthen the Talent Attraction and Management options of the forward-thinking Trust.

Teaching Personnel is a CST Platinum Partner.