Education Recruitment Agencies and COVID-19
Teaching recruitment agencies, specifically supply teaching agencies, are essential to the smooth running of schools across the UK. Many teaching agencies are responsible for providing candidates - on a permanent, supply or leadership basis - for a variety of teaching jobs in different schools. Supply teaching recruitment agencies are often tasked with finding day-to-day replacements or short-term cover for teacher absences, but frequently fill longer-term vacancies too.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has implemented strict procedures and protocols for schools to adhere to. Since the nationwide lockdown was enforced, and now that recent measures to ease lockdown have been announced, it doesn’t change the fact that many schools are still facing a problem. The economic and social difficulties caused by COVID-19 are likely to persist over the next several months and beyond.
The well-known ‘teacher crisis’ is another ongoing issue for the whole education industry. Education recruitment agencies are often relied on by institutions to ‘bridge the gap’; fewer people are looking to get into teaching than the Department of Education estimates are necessary to meet current and future needs. The growing demands on schools don’t help things either. So it begs the question, can schools continue to recruit teaching and support staff during the coronavirus pandemic?
Can Schools Continue Using Supply Teaching Agencies?
The short answer is yes, they can. It’s vital to ensure schools are fully prepared in terms of staff numbers. Therefore, education recruitment is arguably more important than ever and should continue where necessary and in a practical manner, provided that social distancing and protection measures are adhered to.
Social distancing protocols may mean that applying for teaching jobs may result in remote interviews, as opposed to face-to-face interviews. Schools are being entrusted by the Government to ensure they are implementing the correct procedures. Any currently employed supply teachers or supply teaching assistants should continue to support the education of pupils and offer further assistance to schools where possible.
Should Schools be Using Supply or Temporary Workers?
Schools are advised to refer to all parts of the Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 02/20,which sets out approaches and guidance, on ensuring service continues during and after COVID-19. If schools currently have teaching agency workers on live assignments, who are able to continue working as a supply teacher, they may continue to make previously-agreed payments for these workers. Schools should follow the guidelines carefully to ensure that all staff are being paid accordingly.
For candidates not currently on live assignments, or where jobs had to be abruptly paused due to COVID-19, schools should discuss any further demand for the staff. If no such demand is needed, the employers can furlough workers through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Where supply teachers are still required and are continuing to work during coronavirus, they should be paid in the usual way. It depends on whether the teacher is paid directly via the school, or via the agency.
Using Supply Teaching Agencies over In-House Recruitment
Schools are frequently stretched to effectively screen candidates, even in a pre-lockdown environment. Teaching job agencies alleviate much of the pressure on schools, taking on the responsibility of ensuring that the most suitable candidates are put forward for available teaching vacancies.
It could be that some aspiring applicants oversell themselves on their CVs and don’t have the practical knowledge to back their words up. Or alternatively, they hold superb experience but can’t translate that effectively on paper for a teaching job application.
Other advantages of using education recruitment services:
- It saves time and resources when hiring teachers.
- An accredited teaching agency has strict vetting and registration procedures in place.
- Some agencies offer ongoing support to partner schools, having built strong relationships.
- Many recruitment agencies employ former teachers within their organisation (Always Flourishing is no exception to this).
- Quality candidates often prefer teaching agency work to start with, due to the opportunities of career progression, and flexibility with supply teaching work.
Hiring Additional Supply Teachers or Support Workers
Schools will continue to receive their budgets, regardless of any periods of partial or full closure. This means they should be able to pay their staff as usual, and the Government doesn’t anticipate any additional funding is required to manage the costs of hiring new supply teachers.
Here at Always Flourishing, we understand that it is a concerning, uncertain and distressing time for many people. However, we want to ensure everyone that we are monitoring everything carefully, and are available to answer any questions you may have regarding working in education at this present time. Please call us if you have any queries whatsoever.