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How will staffing levels cope with the increased pressure on primary schools?

Andrew Preston, Group Managing Director of de Poel, comments in response to the headline that less affluent families are losing out on places at the best primary schools in England:

“It is saddening to hear that the least wealthy families have less than half the chance of the wealthiest of sending a child to a top-rated school, according to new research.

“This is only set to further exacerbate the immense pressures already on the education sector, including talent retention and the consequent increasing difficulty in filling permanent vacancies, an ever-growing population and a surge in pupil numbers, budget cuts and of course the national teacher recruitment crisis.

“Primary schools are already under strain – particularly in major cities – feeding through to secondary schools where head teachers are struggling to find teaching staff and increasingly talking to recruitment agencies about overseas options.

“With this in mind – and councils stating they will need 336,000 more school places by 2024 – the role that recruitment agencies play in plugging the supply gaps will be more vital than ever, as reliance on highly qualified teachers and school leaders in poorer areas intensifies.

“However, supply cover needn’t be expensive. Now is the time for schools, colleges and education establishments to take action and look to a neutral vendor solution when it comes to procuring supply cover.

“As a leading procurer of temporary cover, de Poel education has no financial affiliation to any recruitment agencies and so is completely independent in our ability to offer the very best supply staffing solutions. We work with a select group of local and national education recruitment agencies to drive better value, raise standards and source the best supply workers for schools, academies, colleges and universities.

“Additionally, we can reduce the cost of supply spend by up to 15% and our web-based software solution, e-tips®, enables increased visibility and control, access to real-time Management Information and greater candidate availability, allowing us to guarantee cover.

“This point is evidenced by the many schools, academies, colleges and universities using electronic end-to-end systems like e-tips® with great success, maintaining full visibility and control of their supply spend and consequently paying substantially less in agency margins. By working with a neutral vendor and adopting a long-term, strategic view on how best to tap into temporary labour, the education sector can ensure a more cost-effective service and, crucially, fulfill safeguarding obligations.”