Special-school recruitment: the crisis no one is talking about

Recruitment for special schools is way tougher than in the mainstream, but there are steps that the government and schools can take, says Marc Rowland. If you have just joined a special school, alternative provision (AP) setting or pupil referral unit (PRU), you are more likely to have a temporary teacher (or no teacher at all) compared with your peers in mainstream education. This is a chronic problem that should not surprise ministers, the Department for Education (DfE) or its executive agencies. But little action has been taken. Professional associations and the media are quieter that Rachel Carson’s environmental science book Silent Spring in highlighting the challenge. It is more difficult for special school leaders to recruit and retain the high-quality, bright, talented teachers that vulnerable pupils need the most. Yet the importance of routine, relationships and rigour cannot be overstated; the impact of recruitment and retention difficulties on special school pupils can be profound. Special educational needs does not equate to low ability; many pupils can achieve high grades, but they won’t get there without great teachers to guide them towards a university or college place. Despite having the highest proportion of vacancies of any phase, there is no … Continue reading Special-school recruitment: the crisis no one is talking about