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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 28 August, 2001, 15:52 GMT 16:52 UK
The cost of finding teachers
Wavell School, Farnborough
Wavell School has managed to fill next term's vacancies
Advertising for vacant teacher positions for the coming autumn term has cost a school in Hampshire 25,000.

The Wavell School in Farnborough will now start the term with a full complement of staff - but only by taking on teachers from abroad.

Spokey Wheeler
Head teacher, Spokey Wheeler, says the problem has been building
Head teacher, Spokey Wheeler, said the shortage of teachers was no surprise and had been building "for a long, long time".

"The situation is actually a three-year cycle which ebbs and flows," he said.

Having no vacancies for September meant his school was better off than many, but that was down to an expensive and time-consuming process of recruitment, he said.

"But what does it mean? It means very significantly increased budgets to attract people into the school, huge increases in advertising, changes in the staffing structure.

"It means senior staff spending more time looking for teachers than focusing on the real job of learning and teaching."

Inductions

Senior staff would have to spend time on inductions for the overseas staff - from South Africa and Canada - and on "getting them up to speed" with the English education system, Mr Wheeler added.

"But really it's about the quality of learning and teaching and if too many people are moving then kids don't get the continuity they need."

Martyn Baxter
Assistant head, Martyn Baxter, says the school will need more teachers come January
Wavell School has seen a rise in pupils' exam performance, but its head is worried these improvements could be undermined.

"If I can't get the high quality recruits - and decent fields of them - then that's going to be in jeopardy."

Despite having teachers in place for the coming term, assistant head teacher, Martyn Baxter, said the recruitment process is on-going.

"Unfortunately colleagues got jobs in other schools very late in the term which meant we couldn't appoint suitably experienced colleagues to the staff here.

"So we've had to fill those gaps with temporary people, but - come January - we'll need to fill those gaps with suitable people," said Mr Baxter.

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