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Friday, 7 December, 2001, 16:45 GMT
Head teacher's supermarket sweep
teacher in science class
Heads are doing whatever they can to recruit teachers
The head teacher of a leading state school has gone shopping for teachers - at the local supermarket.

David Wilmot, the head teacher of Cams Hill, an exemplary "beacon school" in Fareham, Hampshire, has been stalking the aisles of his local Sainsbury's store to try to recruit teachers.

Governors, pupils and teachers from the school have joined him at the store, because conventional methods have failed.

Mr Wilmot says he has spent two days a week since January trying to recruit staff.

Shopping list

"The problem we have nationally and locally is a desperate shortage of teachers.

"I need to do this in a supermarket because I have tried every other avenue.

"Sainsbury's attract a lot of people and often they will be parents of pupils, ex-pupils or former teachers and we can talk to them and say teaching is a worthwhile profession."

Mr Willmot, like many other heads, says he has spent a lot of time calling Australia and other countries to interview teachers.

Unusual tactics

He has recruited one Australian teacher who will soon join the school.

He is not the only head teacher to try unusual methods to try to find staff.

Some have sent letters to all parents asking if they are qualified teachers.

And some local authorities have set up stands in shopping centres to canvass teachers who have left the profession, or who are taking a break to look after their families.

In the summer, the chief inspector of schools Mike Tomlinson described the teacher shortage as the "worst for decades".

He said 40% of teachers were quitting within three years of joining the profession.

The government has introduced new incentives to try to attract more people into teaching, including golden handshakes and the payment of bursaries to graduates on PGCE teacher-training courses.

See also:

04 Sep 01 | Education
Teacher shortages loom as term starts
01 Nov 01 | Education
More teachers are quitting
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