Half of teachers would move to a tougher school for a promotion or reduced timetable

Around half of teachers would consider moving to a tougher school if offered a promotion or timetable reduction, new research has found.

The recruitment gap report, published by the Sutton Trust today, also found that more than half of teachers would want to see a “clearly enforced and effective behaviour policy” in place before moving to a school serving a more disengaged community.

80% of teachers are willing to consider a local move to a school in special measures with recruitment challenges, provided the conditions are right

The report, by Teacher Tapp’s Dr Becky Allen and Laura McInerney, is based on the views of 3,000 teachers in state-funded and independent schools in England, and makes a series of policy recommendations aimed at aiding recruitment and retention in disadvantaged communities.

It found that teachers in the poorest schools were twice as likely to report a lack of suitably qualified teachers, but that many teachers would be willing to consider a local move to a school in special measures with recruitment challenges, provided the conditions are right.

For example, 54 per cent of teachers said they’d want to see an effective behaviour policy in a school before moving. The report points out such a policy is “costly only in terms of senior leadership time needed to implement”.

Forty-nine per cent would be attracted by a “substantial promotion”, which would cost schools £5,000 or more, while 48 per cent would consider moving for a 25 per cent timetable reduction – something that would cost £10,000 per teacher.

It comes amid a teacher recruitment and retention crisis. The government recruited only marginally more teachers than left the profession last year.

The report called on ministers to consider requiring teachers receiving “substantial” bursaries to teach in more disadvantaged schools or in particular areas.

The Department for Education’s recruitment and retention strategy was published earlier this year, which included plans to reform bursaries so payments are phased – with higher sums for teachers who work in challenging schools.

But the report found there are also “other low-cost perks that schools could also offer, including lower marking loads, quality training opportunities and mentoring”.

Pupil premium funding is also “a potentially vital resource for disadvantaged schools to invest in attracting teachers”. The government should emphasise to schools that spending the pupil premium on teacher wages and professional development “may help disadvantaged schools to overcome their recruitment struggles”, the report stated.

James Zuccollo, director for school workforce at the Education Policy Institute, said getting high quality teachers into hard to staff areas is “undoubtedly one of the greatest policy challenges facing the Department for Education”.

“One remedy is to introduce pay supplements for teachers in shortage subjects, particularly for those teaching in the poorest schools. This is supported by today’s survey, which suggests teachers would apply to teach in disadvantaged schools, if offered a promotion.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL leaders’ union, added: “One thing that the government could do immediately to tackle this issue is to review an accountability system which often stigmatises these schools and makes it more difficult to recruit and retain teachers and leaders.”