With its east-coast energy hub, advanced engineering & manufacturing capabilities and world-class food, life-science and agri-tech cluster, Norfolk is an ambitious county.
Plans have been outlined to create 73,000 new homes, 57,000 new jobs and some 5,300 new businesses by 2026. This means that for those seeking teaching jobs, Norfolk is in the mid-to-long-term an attractive destination – notwithstanding Covid-19. However, for all Norfolk schools – from Diss and Harleston in the south to towns such as Great Yarmouth on the east and north coasts, as well as central inland population centres like Norwich – the next year or two will present difficulties as well as opportunities.
As a well-established teacher recruitment agency, we at TeachWell understand that whilst in some ways benefiting teacher recruitment and retention, the Covid-19 pandemic offers its own challenges.
Since 2012, there has been a shortfall in the number of graduates entering the teaching profession, compared with the Department of Education’s forecasts of how many would be needed. But that may be about to change. It is almost inevitable that Norfolk is heading for a recession in 2021, as a result of the coronavirus. This is set to make the availability of teachers and support staff at Norfolk schools greater, but the recruitment process trickier.
Let us assume that during the coming recession, relatively recession-proof occupations such as teaching will become more appealing: as new vacancies in engineering and business become scarce and salaries in those sectors fall, many new and recent graduates will turn to a teacher recruitment agency in search of career security and wage stability. Now, let us at the same time assume that concerns about finding new work during the recession – or indeed a reluctance to move away from Norfolk during the pandemic – will lead to an increase in the number of teachers deciding to stay put at Norfolk schools. The number of candidates applying for each vacancy will be high, whilst there will be fewer vacancies. The upshot is that it will be more challenging than usual to find, recruit and retain only the most committed teachers and support staff: those truly dedicated to the profession rather than those choosing it as a temporary Plan B.
Some of those attracted to teaching in the relatively safe and prosperous county of Norfolk during the recession are likely to quit when the recession is over, when their Plan A finally becomes viable. Similarly, long-serving teachers and support staff who because of the pandemic had postponed switching schools or postponed quitting the education sector altogether, will probably decide, post-recession and post-pandemic, that the time is ripe to move on.
To summarise, the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant economic downturn are bound to attract more graduates than previously to the teaching profession and will certainly help teacher retention at Norfolk schools for the time being, but not indefinitely. It is therefore important that schools include the engagement of a good teacher recruitment agency in their teacher recruitment & retention strategy.
TeachWell teacher recruitment agency covers all of Norfolk: towns as diverse as Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Harleston and Diss. We know the county and we have a good track record of placing dedicated teaching professionals with dynamic, forward-looking Norfolk schools.