Poll: Suffolk looks to southern Europe to tackle teacher recruitment crisis

Teachers will be recruited from southern Europe

Teachers will be recruited from southern Europe

A campaign to lure Europe’s brightest graduates to our region is being launched today 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 the region, and then work in schools.

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

Geoff Robinson, of Snitt, which is based at University Campus Suffolk, said: “We believe that there is untapped talent in Europe. For many years now, teacher training providers up and down the country have found it very challenging to attract top graduates in shortage subjects.

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“However, the prospects for future teachers are excellent. Last year, two thirds of Suffolk and Norfolk ITT trainee teachers qualified with a grade of outstanding and 98% of them secured teaching posts on completion of training”.

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.

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Nikos Savvas, principal of Bury St Edmunds’ West Suffolk College said: “As the region’s economy grows with science and technology playing an increasingly important role in the area, the need for inspiring and engaging teachers in these subjects has never been greater.

“We want our pupils and students to have the opportunity to play their part in the exciting developments in this region such as the Sizewell complex on the Suffolk coast, BT’s global centre for innovation and research at Ipswich and Norwich Research Park which is Europe’s largest single site concentration of research, training and education in health, food and environmental sciences.”

West Suffolk College has already successfully trialled international recruitment for specialist subjects, like engineering. In their experience, by opening up their recruitment to include European candidates, they were able to attract the best candidates, often with specific industry experience to the benefit of the students.

For more information go to SNITT’s website, www.snitt.co.uk or via West Suffolk College at www.westsuffolkcollege.ac.uk

Do you have an education story? Email matt.hunter@archant.co.uk

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