A Case Study

As a growing Academy Trust based in London and the South East, Learning in Harmony is encountering unprecedented challenges in recruiting and retaining staff and, in particular, middle and senior leaders.

This is an issue which is acute in London where recruiting new teachers is comparatively easy because many NQTs take the opportunity to live and work in London at the start of their careers. Additionally, Teach First and overseas trained teachers look for opportunities in London schools where they can have a good lifestyle before seeking to buy a property or start a family.

The culture of the Trust has been to grow their own , recruiting NQTs from trainees and Teach First graduates placed in their schools and from overseas teachers originally recruited through agencies. Additionally, many teachers begin their professional journey in other roles in the Trust, such as Teaching Assistants and Student Mentors and they are supported to achieve QTS.

This strategy has secured high quality teaching and learning across the schools in the Trust and a potential pool of outstanding practitioners from which to draw new leaders; unfortunately, however, a significant proportion of them will move away from London because of the high cost of living. This inevitably creates a gap, particularly at middle leader level.

Additionally, having the right jobs at the right time has proved a challenge, so talented teachers have sometimes been obliged to seek opportunities elsewhere. Yet, on the other hand, vacancies have arisen and there are no suitable candidates within, or indeed beyond, the Trust, from which to recruit.

A Proactive Solution
With the establishment of the Academy Trust there was an opportunity to look at recruitment and retention holistically to find new and innovative solutions. The Trust has established a Leadership Pathway programme linking an innovative approach to recruitment and retention with a professional development programme. This is underpinned by an Employment Pledge drawn from the Trust's vision and aims.

The key principles of the programme are set out below, showing progression within the Trust which, while seeking to retain the best staff, is underpinned by a robust and transparent recruitment process.

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