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James Fazzani: Will the Early Career Framework Work?

Friday, February 22, 2019

James Fazzani: Will the Early Career Framework Work?

The Department for Education (DfE) recently released a strategy, with support from the likes of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers (NASBTT), highlighting the challenges relating to recruitment and retention of staff within UK schools.

An article in The Educator said:

“It is good to see competitive salaries and pathways for teachers remaining in the classroom on the agenda, alongside the acknowledgement that there is a highly competitive (and shrinking) graduate market” Ref.1

“We are especially delighted that the Early Career Framework (ECF) is outlined as we hoped for – and we look forward to seeing the transformative plans for an entitlement to professional development for all early career teachers being implemented. It was essential to have a commitment to funding the ECF, as well as the additional time off-timetable in the second year of teaching for all for early career teachers, and we are pleased that both are guaranteed.” Ref.1

Is this going to be enough?

I was a teacher for 11 years and, having trained within a school-centred initial teacher training provider, completing my NQT year with the allocated reduction in my timetable, I welcome the proposed changes to the second year of teaching. I was also lucky enough to have joined the profession with two incentives: a golden hello and the repayment of my student loan. These two factors, rather than having an extra 10% PPA time, had a greater impact on me staying in teaching!

I, therefore, wonder if the implementation of the ECF alone will solve the recruitment and retention crisis. Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs), Local Authorities (LAs) or indeed individual schools, particularly those in areas already struggling for numbers, may find it's still not enough to encourage new recruits into an already strained and shrinking market.

What more can be done?

There is hope. Those forward-thinking and dynamic organisations who look to utilise as many avenues as possible, such as joining or forming a NASBTT organisation (where you can ‘grow your own’) or a graduate-to-teaching assistant programme, will help to alleviate the issue of recruitment - certainly within their own schools and MATs.

There are other challenges to consider when looking at recruitment and retention of staff in schools, such as the recruitment of supply teachers and support staff (or, as we at SupplyNow like to call them, Supply Heroes).

All too often, this part of the education workforce is undervalued. Those working on supply cover classes for absent teachers, fulfil any unfilled vacancies and cover maternity positions, all crucial for the smooth running of a school.

Although they add value to the schools they work in, supply staff often find consistent work difficult to come by, as they tend to register with multiple agencies who pull them this way and that. Other times, they're ‘encouraged’ into a role that’s not suitable for them, leading to the termination of this role, which increases inconsistency for students.

Another challenge schools face is that they often have to play one agency off against another or require ongoing relationships with multiple agencies to secure the staff they need on any given day. It's astonishing to me that even in this climate, UK schools spent £1.2 billion on supply staff in 2014/15, compared to £918 million in 2011/12. This significant increase drove the Crown Commercial Services (CCS) to develop the policy that led to the supply teachers and temporary staff deal, a deal established to help schools address this issue.

Although this framework, along with the ECF policy will help, the question to consider is:

if you source a ‘cheaper’ or more transparent agency who doesn’t have, for example, the maths teacher you need – what will you do?

We see the issue differently here at SupplyNow. The problem is that all too often the available staff are siloed geographically by agencies who have regional offices, or they're registered with a handful of agencies, but not the one you work with!

This prevents them from accessing vacancies in their local area, so they can find themselves at home without paid work. Here at SupplyNow, we can solve this problem and maximise the deployment of all available staff across a region.

How can SupplyNow help supply staff to access more jobs?

Imagine all the supply staff registered and available in your region being within reach at the click of a button, rather than having to call multiple agencies in the hope they have someone free and within budget. Our app gives you access to all the Supply Heroes registered directly with us, as well as your supply list all in one place. As a MAT, Federation, or SCITT of Local Authority, you can pool all supply staff within your region.

Imagine all the staff who live in your school's neighbouring communities that aren't covered by your agency's regional office now having access to your vacancies. Our innovative EdTech platform removes these barriers!

Sounds great, doesn’t it? It gets better…

SupplyNow’s rates

We are ahead of the curve in terms of supporting schools in the current financial climate. With a flat rate of £20 per day and capped temp to perm fee of just 10% (well within the supply teachers and temporary staff deal), we meet the benefits offered by the deal with total transparency on costs. We also provide consistent terms & conditions and adhere to the DfE Keeping Children Safe in Education standards. Ref 2

To summarise, there is not one simple solution to a complex issue. However, organisations who embrace all available initiatives and look to solutions offered by us here at SupplyNow will go a long way to securing the staff they need.

About the writer: James Fazzani

James Fazzani

I care about education and young people - as a teacher and parent, I know how important good schooling is. I grew up in London and went on to study Pharmaceutical Science at Kingston University but realised a life in the lab was not for me - I am a people person.

I embarked on a teaching career and quickly fell in love with the profession, eventually becoming an Assistant Head Teacher. After a fulfilling eleven-year career, I left teaching and entered the world of education recruitment, sourcing and placing permanent staff into schools. This allowed me to work closely with my clients, visiting schools, even spending some time in classes to really understand the ethos of the schools I represented.

I am now the Relationships and Success Director at SupplyNow, an EdTech start-up on a mission to save schools money, pay supply staff fairly and deliver consistency for supply staff and students.






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