Norfolk and Suffolk turn to southern Europe to tackle teacher recruitment crisis

PUBLISHED: 06:30 12 November 2015 | UPDATED: 08:36 12 November 2015

The new campaign is targeting graduates in southern Europe. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

The new campaign is targeting graduates in southern Europe. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire

A campaign to lure Europe’s brightest graduates to our region will be launched tomorrow to tackle the teacher recruitment crisis facing our schools.

The initiative, which will sell the benefits of life in Norfolk and Suffolk, will target top universities in four of the countries where students face the toughest time finding jobs after completing their studies.

The adverts in Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal will encourage high-fliers who have studied maths, physics, chemistry, computing and modern foreign languages - subjects business leaders have said are vital to our economy - to undergo teacher training in our region, and then work in our schools.

It is spearheaded by Suffolk and Norfolk Initial Teacher Training (Snitt) and West Suffolk College.

Geoff Robinson, of Snitt, said: “I think it’s really important because we want our local young people to be taught by the very best teachers, as they will be an inspiration in maths and physics and these key subjects.

“We have really important projects in the local economy, like the Norwich Research Park. We want our young people to be trained for a scientific and technological future.”

An EDP survey of Norfolk headteachers last year identified recruitment as the most serious issue facing education in the county.

The first selection round aims to recruit 20 trainees, and will include interviews over the internet to check their English ability, and a fortnight’s placement in a school in our region.

The south-European countries have high youth unemployment figures, and because they are EU citizens, the candidates will be eligible for the same government bursaries as British applicants.

James Joyce, chairman of the Children’s Services Committee at Norfolk County Council, said there were “particular challenges” recruiting teachers in subjects like science and technology, and added: “These are growth areas in the county and represent significant career opportunities for Norfolk’s students, so it is imperative that Norfolk’s children and young people have access to the best teaching in these subjects.

“By recruiting graduates from across Europe we can build on the fantastic teaching that is already taking place in many of the county’s schools.”

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