James Lowe, MD of Moxi Education Recruitment
Schools up and down the country are still dealing with the fallout of pandemic-prompted-disruption, with many children lagging behind due to months of missed education. Throw into the mix austerity, ever decreasing budgets and a teaching shortage, and there’s a perfect storm brewing.
Teaching shortages are particularly worrying. Recent Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) research revealed that teacher shortages have reached crisis point in England, with 95% of schools experiencing difficulty in recruiting teachers. This is having a dramatic impact on the quality of education received by children.
James Lowe, Director of Grolife – a group of organisations all designed to support the education sector -is a former headteacher who has first-hand experience of teaching shortages and the impacts it has on a school and teaching delivery. With over 16 years’ experience in the education sector, James has first-hand experience of teaching shortages and the impacts it has on a school and teaching delivery.
EdStart specialist schools, part of the Grolife Group, span five sites across North West England. Recruiting quality teams was proving ever more difficult and eventually, frustration and disillusionment with both the process and the quality of candidates prompted James to launch Moxi and shake up education recruitment.
Moxi matches schools with candidates who are well trained and primed to hit the ground running in a range of education settings, so they are ready to serve the varying needs of pupils.
James explains, “Over the years in my various management roles in schools, I’ve faced the situation of either having no support when short staffed or accepting support that is very much below par. This isn’t fair on the pupils, whose education suffers, or the existing staff who are already working incredibly hard to ensure every child receives the education and pastoral care they deserve.
IT’S TIME TO STEM TEACHER BRAIN-DRAIN
“The current teaching shortage is chronic and one underacknowledged reason for this is the many teachers moving out of mainstream education and into private education providers. Many teachers are moving into tuition companies, alternative provision, and special educational needs settings.
“I have worked with dozens of teachers and still do, who switch to the private education sector because of the perks it brings and the better work life balance that it can provide. Another factor is the opportunity relatively new and young teachers have in front of them. They’re receiving lucrative offers to teach abroad and the rise of international schools in regions such as the Middle East is seeing a brain drain from the UK.
“We also must consider the impact of the pandemic on the training of new teachers and the huge number of teachers who ended up staying in roles when the world slowed down, so we are currently seeing an apparent spike in numbers of teachers moving on, and even out of the profession, now that they can.
THINK LIKE A BUSINESS AND SUPPLY CAN MEET DEMAND
“Schools need to be thinking more like businesses in other industries to attract and retain staff by making teaching a sought-after profession again. Supply teachers have never been more in demand and many assignments are leading to permanent roles in outstanding schools because of the opportunities available. Teacher shortages are that severe that supply staff are cherry picking their roles and the hourly or daily earnings are creeping up as schools compete to secure the best staff.
“Supply teachers often have experience across different year groups, subjects, exam boards and standards and therefore can offer good insight to the schools they find themselves in by sharing the knowledge they have picked up from the various postings. Inevitably, this knowledge can lead to middle and senior leadership positions being achieved.”
Moxi offers a nationwide service to fill schools’ recruitment needs at all levels, from support staff and teaching assistants to classroom teachers and senior management leadership professionals.
HIRING SUPPLY, THE RIGHT WAY
“Finding the right staff is essential for your school’s success, even for more temporary roles. I really value a positive attitude and character, but I also look for professional presentation and standards. I think adaptability is a useful skill because it means they’ll be quick to learn new ways of working and take initiative when necessary.’’
BRIEF TO BRING OUT THE BEST
‘’Supply staff should always be made to feel part of the team. To ensure a smooth transition, their induction into the school should never be overlooked. This doesn’t have to be extensive, just a good initial greeting and briefing. They need access to policies, systems, and processes so they have something to refer back to when necessary. They should be made aware of expected standards and values and be assigned a contact or mentor than they can check in with. We all need that support, especially when we’re new to a team.
‘’Recruitment agencies also have a responsibility to support their candidates. We are consistently and regularly working with candidates who have been let down by other agencies and thrown in the deep end in schools with very little or no training. We’re thrilled that our candidates finally feel supported by an agency that cares about their wellbeing and career development.”
DON’T DISMISS TALENT FROM BEYOND EDUCATION – THEY SIMPLY NEED MOXI
Moxi also specialises in supplying qualified professionals to support special educational needs. Like James, the whole Moxi team has worked at the coalface of education, meaning they understand the sector’s unique challenges.
Moxi’s answer is to harness, and – importantly – train, talent from both inside and outside of the sector. As part of its recruitment service, Moxi offers a unique training provision which benefits schools seeking high-quality candidates as well as people looking for a role in the education sector who are keen to build their employability skills and boost their confidence.
James continues, ‘’We called the business Moxi, taking inspiration from the word ‘moxie’ which means confidence and determination. From my years at the frontline in schools, I know that skills can be taught, but natural energy and attitude are everything. That’s why we’re excited to help unlock the potential of people from outside the sector, or those just starting out in their career, who can bring invaluable transferable skills to a rewarding profession.
‘’From recent graduates who hadn’t considered teaching as a career option, to people returning to work after a career break, and even former professional sports people, there’s a wealth of talent just waiting to be accessed. We’re seeing lots of students, who are about to graduate in subjects like geography, sports science or sociology. They’re not sure what to do with their degrees, and you can see that lightbulb moment when they realise teaching could be for them. Our training course opens this door, it’s free to candidates and sets them up to feel confident and ready for an exciting new challenge.’’
TRAIN TO GAIN
Thanks to its close partnership with EdStart specialist schools, Moxi is in the unique position to train candidates at its own education facilities. With a range of training available, its free, entry level course is already proving popular with candidates – and with schools who hire confident, classroom ready staff.
To book supply cover or talk to Moxi about longer term recruitment needs:
Call 0300 303 4414 (option 2)