Is the teacher recruiting crisis killing the profession?

Justyn Randall

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Think that sounds a bit dramatic? Well, let’s look at the facts: 

1. According to a recent National Education Union survey, 80% of classroom teachers have considered quitting the profession because of their workload.

2. An online poll by Teacher Tapp found only half of teachers think they’ll still be in the job 10 years from now.

3. And the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) reports that the number of qualified teachers leaving the profession - for reasons other than retirement - increased from 6% (25,260) of the qualified workforce in 2011 to 8% (34,910) in 2016.

And it gets worse. The report goes on to say that ‘the failure of the department to get to grips with the number of teachers leaving puts additional pressure on schools faced with rising numbers of children needing a school place and the teachers to teach them’.

 

"The Department of Education does not have a coherent plan to tackle teacher retention and development"

- Public Accounts Committee

 

Plus there’s a huge amount of wastage in the education sector. Expensive recruitment campaigns lead to highly talented people joining the sector – only to leave just as quickly when they experience the pressure, relentless workload and appalling lack of support.

So are supply teachers the answer? To some degree they are, but there’s talk in the press about how the government is focusing on cost savings within the education sector because they are spending too much money on these supply teachers.

The problems and the blame go on. But clearly, the serious issue of UK teacher retention has reached a critical point – and someone needs to start addressing the problem.

 

"I recognise that recruitment and retention is difficult for schools and that one of the biggest threats to this is workload."

- Damien Hinds, Education Secretary.

 

I saw this retention problem first hand and the devastating effects it was having on everyone involved. But the more I thought about it, the more I came to realise that with the right people, the right technology and the right practical creative thinking, we could do something about it.

So I set up OPOGO and now we’re doing precisely that. OPOGO is a new, free service designed to help both teachers and schools become more efficient and more cost-effective. A service that is personalised, prepared for change and provides valuable, dependable support through simple-to-use technology.

And it achieves all this by doing what others haven’t done – to truly understand the specific needs and challenges of the school, the individual and their careers.

To dive a bit deeper, OPOGO is a community platform designed to help schools engage, attract and retain the right talent. With genuinely useful, time-saving features like our Journey Planner, virtual timesheets, flexible working patterns and weekly social and CPD sessions, we are helping to solve the problems that need solving.

 

"I believe we need to get back to the heart of successful teaching – to strip away the workload that doesn’t add value and give teachers the time to focus on what actually matters."
- Damien Hinds, Education Secretary

 

Spot on. And we want to improve staff working life at every touch point. Through streamlining working practices, reducing admin and by helping with everything from communication to timesheets, OPOGO is already lifting the pressure on teachers and schools.

We’ve seen for ourselves that If teachers are more financially secure, they’re more comfortable in their role - and less likely to leave the profession.

So we help with things like free umbrella fees, Perkbox discounts and our ambassador programme, all of which actually put more back into their pockets.

And we offer our partner schools expert, dedicated support. Our comprehensive package includes corporate employee engagement tools and industry firsts such as Wellness Programmes for pupils featuring #teachfit and #teachdigital courses.

By transforming how people work like this, by taking away the time-consuming problems, OPOGO is doing more than helping teachers do their job. It is improving their mindset and well-being, and helping them become more productive and simply happier. At the same time, OPOGO is reducing the pressure on schools, saving them time, energy and precious resources.

And this benefits everyone, right down to pupils and their families.


"When I see NQTs brimming with passion to change young lives for the better, I think it an utter travesty that so many end up losing their early enthusiasm, because of the pressures of the job. Especially when so many of those pressures are entirely unnecessary."
- Amanda Spielman, Chief Inspector of Schools



We wholeheartedly agree. Which is why we’re putting teachers’ wellbeing, staff retention and ongoing support at the heart of everything we do.

So yes, I believe that the current system is damaging the recruitment of teachers in this country. And yes, we know that OPOGO will not transform these issues overnight. But we are already changing how people work, improving how they feel about their role and making life much easier and simpler for everyone.

Let’s just hope more people work like us to get things done and take practical steps to make real and lasting change happen.

 

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About the CEO

04_TEAM_01_JUSTYN

Justyn Randall

CEO  |  Founder

With extensive experience and strategic skill in building leading global marketing businesses across multiple sectors, Justyn is the CEO and founder of Opogo.

From his deep understanding of the industry and its challenges, Justyn launched Opogo with the prime motivation of transforming the experience of educators within the industry.

Opogo is a community platform designed to help schools attract and retain the talent that’s right for them. Our social hub is packed with rich content from our community experts. And through our ever-evolving Smart Match technology, teachers can be booked for work simply and quickly.

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