Failing school to recruit in Canada after teachers quit

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The Independent Online

A comprehensive school is to mount a recruitment drive in Canada in an attempt to end desperate staffing crisis.

A comprehensive school is to mount a recruitment drive in Canada in an attempt to end desperate staffing crisis.

Paul Simpson, deputy headteacher of Moorside, a 1,200-pupil 11-to-16 school in Salford, Greater Manchester, will fly to Toronto tomorrow for a week of interviews with potential staff. It is an urgent mission - next term Mr Simpson's school could be short of 11 teachers.

A firm of headhunters, the Hay education group, has already identified 30 Canadian teachers anxious to come to the Britain - and turn round the school, which is on the hit list of failing schools compiled by Ofsted, the education standards watchdog.

The school's drive comes at a time when the number of overseas teachers in British state schools has reached record levels. Latest figures from the Department for Education and Skills show that there were 11,600 overseas teachers without British qualifications in classrooms at the start of the year, compared with just 2,500 in 1997.

The largest number come from Australia, with South Africa and New Zealand not far behind. Canada is in fourth place, although it is becoming a favourite for recruitment as it has large numbers of unemployed teachers because of a drop in the birth rate.

Mr Simpson, whose school was placed on the "hit list'' of failing schools earlier this year, is seeking four science teachers, three English teachers and one each in technology, maths, drama and PE.

Teachers left the school after it failed its inspection. One of the criticisms made by inspectors was that too many lessons were poorly delivered.

Mr Simpson said yesterday: "The headhunters have already lined up teachers in almost all of the subject areas. In effect, they have drawn up the short-list for me.

"We did advertise in the UK but did not get anyone. Science and English, in particular, have become national shortage areas in the United Kingdom."

The school is barred from appointing newly qualified teachers because it is on the Ofsted hit list. "That's disappointing - because I am sure there are some who would relish the challenge," Mr Simpson added. "I am sure, though, that the new teachers will have a very positive impact on the school. There are some very strong candidates on the short-list."

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