A teacher from a North London secondary school recently talked to us about the poor handling of a teacher gap in her school. She would like to remain anonymous.

“It was just one week before the resignation date window closed for another term when we received the news that our Head of Physics had posted his letter of resignation.

That left us – fellow teachers and support staff – with just one week to recruit someone suitable to fill his senior and experienced shoes. Naturally, we looked to our existing Physics department to see if there was opportunity for promotion but the only teacher experienced enough for the role refused it. Her hours were already long enough and she had two small children to go home to at night.

So in our opinion, we only had one option. Advertise the permanent position online, speak to a local recruiter about a permanent replacement and hope for the best.

Fortunately – or so we believed at the time – we managed to find someone suitable for the role who could start just in time for the new term. Our replacement was ‘nice’ and, well, ‘suitable’. And by suitable, I mean that he had held similar positions in the past and could clearly do the job on paper. His CV ticked the boxes so despite my reservations (and those of a colleague) on how well he’d fit into the school and department we counted ourselves lucky to have found someone in time and offered him the position.

“Surely it was better to have somebody to head up the Physics department at the start of a new term than admit we’d floundered after our predecessor’s departure?” we reassured ourselves.

Only now we know for sure that our replacement simply isn’t right for the role. He doesn’t exhibit the energy or ambition, or share the same cultural beliefs that we, and our previous Head of Physics held. But he’s a permanent employee and we’ve already invested a fair sum of money in his recruitment and on-boarding. So we find ourselves in a very difficult situation.

This is what led me to GRI. I wanted to ask for advice on our current position and have since learnt that our best route would have been to opt for interim Supply cover rather than rush to replace someone, and find ourselves paying the price now because we’ve hired somebody who isn’t right for the role.

I hadn’t even considered looking into using supply teachers because I’d just assumed that they were costly and would disrupt the department because of their impermanency. But now I see that making the wrong hire carries a far greater cost and demands further time and attention from myself to now rectify the situation.”

If you’d like any further information on the misplaced perceptions of supply teaching, or to discuss your schools hiring requirements, get in touch today on 01565 68 2020 or email info@geometricresults.co.uk

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