Recruiting for your school during the coronavirus pandemic
Published: April 6 2020
With this year’s teacher resignation deadlines fast approaching, many schools are still thinking of recruiting for roles during these challenging times. Therefore, schools may need to think outside the box and traditional recruitment methods may need to be adapted in order to attract staff.
Under normal circumstances, the start date for teaching staff would be 1 September, however, current circumstances may create some uncertainty for candidates. If schools have teachers that are due to join them from 1 September, then it would be helpful to keep the communication ongoing to provide not only reassurance but also to update on any changes. Also, schools will need to consider how an induction would be carried out if schools remain closed throughout the summer term. Could some parts of the induction be carried out online?
If you are thinking of advertising for a new role, then think about whether a start of 1 January (or at least the flexibility to move the start date back) would be better given the current circumstances as hopefully things would have settled by then.
In the absence of being able to undertake face-to-face interviews, schools may need to switch to online interview methods. Any interviews conducted by the panel and a candidate should be in private. Discussions can then be held separately by the panel and interview forms completed accordingly. If there is going to be delay in the process, then ensure that all candidates are kept informed.
Teaching interview lessons
For teacher selection, usually a practical classroom assessment is considered. Although this part of the selection process is harder to recreate, schools could still ask candidates to deliver the lesson online via video conferencing or if the candidate is already teaching remotely then they could submit a video of their teaching. In addition, schools could ask the candidates to describe how they would teach a lesson on a given topic, or to describe a lesson they have taught in the past. Candidates can still be questioned regarding different situations, such as behaviour management, to determine how they would respond to a situation.
Schools could also consider a two-stage approach by having the interview first and the classroom assessment at a later stage, if schools do reopen for the summer term. However, this approach may result in some schools losing strong candidates as others may move forward with job offers.
If schools are recruiting new staff, they should continue to follow the relevant safer recruitment processes for their setting, including, as appropriate, relevant sections in part 3 of KCSIE. In response to COVID-19, the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has made changes to its guidance on standard and enhanced DBS ID checking to minimise the need for face-to-face contact.
Can recruitment be delayed?
Schools could also consider the possibility of delaying the recruitment process. Think about whether the work could be covered by supply staff in the interim even though this may be more costly.
Retraction of resignation
Staff may also decide to retract their resignations, however, schools are not obliged to accept. Resignations can only be withdrawn with the employer’s express permission. Schools could discuss this with the employee as it will be one less role to recruit for.
As the competition for talent is fierce, schools should ensure that their website is kept up-to-date. As school visits are most likely not possible during this period, candidates will rely on the school’s website to do their research and decided whether your school is suitable for them.
Undoubtedly these are challenging times faced by not only schools but all businesses as result of the coronavirus outbreak. If you need advice with recruiting over this period or guidance relating to other coronavirus related HR matters, then please get in touch with the Kent HR team of specialists.
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