THERE is serious and growing concern about the recruitment of secondary school teachers, the Education Minister told MHKs.
Tim Crookall was quizzed in the House of Keys over his department’s policy on encouraging newly qualified teachers to get jobs within island schools.
The Minister replied it was a ‘very timely question’ as the ‘recruitment of secondary school teachers in particular is a matter of serious and growing concern for the department and for secondary heads.’
He explained that the market for secondary school teachers was highly competitive and the island was losing out to UK authorities because ‘we cannot make unconditional job offers to the best candidates we want to recruit’.
Mr Crookall said there was a special problem here and his department was talking with colleagues in Economic Development to look at ways of resolving it.
MHKs were told that newly qualified teachers, who are Manx workers, are able to apply for both internally and externally advertised posts - and can, if they want, be notified by email about all such vacancies whether they are living on or off-island.
In the past two years, 39 newly qualified teachers have been appointed to either full or part-time posts within the department, Mr Crookall said.
He stressed that while newly qualified teachers appointed to primary schools are invariably Manx workers, his department faced ‘significant challenges’ in securing sufficient secondary teachers.
‘Whilst we would always give preference to Manx workers, where available, we have to cast the recruitment net as wide as possible to ensure secondary schools are fully staffed. Therefore, there is a need to regularly appoint non-Manx workers into secondary posts as the alternative would be having classes without teachers.’
Mr Crookall insisted this did not disadvantage Manx workers, providing they are able to teach the subjects where the vacancies arise. ‘Obviously it is not possible to appoint a PE specialist if the vacancy requires a maths teachers,’ he pointed out.
Bill Henderson (Douglas North) said there needed to be a ‘common sense’ policy to ‘promote local aspiring talent’ to securing jobs in island schools.