Jobs website pilot aims to save schools up to £75m

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

A free website to advertise teacher vacancies is to be launched in a bid to help schools save on the £75 million a year spent on job advertisements.

The Department for Education (DfE) has also unveiled a new nationwide deal to provide schools with a list of supply agencies that do not demand a “finder’s fee” if staff are made permanent after 12 weeks.

Education secretary Damian Hinds said the new measures are aimed at saving money for schools so more can be invested in front-line teaching.

The new vacancies website is to be launched as a pilot in Cambridgeshire and the North East, with a plan to roll it out nationally by the end of 2018. The website will offer schools the chance to advertise vacancies and recruit staff, including the opportunity to advertise part-time roles and job shares.

The nationwide deal, meanwhile, has been developed with the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) and will be available for headteachers from September this year. It will consist of a list of “preferred suppliers” who do not charge finder’s fees.

A DfE statement said: “Some agencies charge schools costly finder’s fees if headteachers want to make supply staff permanent and do not set out how much they are charging on top of the basic wages paid to supply staff.

“The preferred suppliers on the list will also be required to clearly set out how much they are charging on top of the wages for staff.

“This will make it easier for schools to avoid being charged excessive fees and reduce the cost burden on schools of recruiting supply teachers through agencies.”

Other national deals already developed with the CCS include deals with energy providers and for equipment such as printers.

The DfE is also piloting new “buying hubs” to bulk buy and to “help schools get best value for money from procurement”.

Valentine Mulholland, head of policy at the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “These new measures are sensible but they cannot hope to solve the root cause of the recruitment and financial crises facing schools. School budgets are at breaking point. Any moves to bring costs down are both welcome and essential, but it is still vital that the overall budget goes up.

“Recruitment is a challenge because there are insufficient numbers of NQTs coming into the system and too many experienced teachers leaving prematurely. Agency costs are a problem but it is the lack of teachers that force their use.”

Education secretary Damian Hinds said: “Every pound that’s spent on excessive agency fees, or on advertising jobs, is a pound that I want to help schools spend on what really matters: making sure every child, whatever their background, is inspired to learn and to reach their potential.”


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