Online tool offers schools the chance to save thousands on recruitment

Damian Hinds

Schools could save thousands of pounds in recruitment costs thanks to a new online tool to help them avoid agencies that charge excessive fees, says the government.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds will today announce an online tool which will clearly show the fees recruitment agencies charge on top of staff wages, so school leaders know what they are getting for their money. It will also help schools avoid agencies that charge fees for making temporary staff permanent.

In 2016/17, the last year for which figures are available, schools in England spent £825m with supply agencies.

To appear on the list of approved agencies available through the tool, they must set out their costs up-front – allowing schools to compare prices – and conduct rigorous background checks on their staff.

Schools across the country are already benefiting from the Government’s clampdown on expensive fees after plans were initially set out last year. Rainhill High School, an academy in St Helens, Merseyside, reported savings of £2,500 in three months – thanks in part to using the tool to find a new supply agency that offered the best value. The Education Secretary is now calling on more schools to follow their lead by using the new online tool when recruiting supply teachers and agency workers.

Mr Hinds said:” I want to help schools use their resources as effectively as possible. There will always be a role for supply teachers within schools, but schools shouldn’t be ripped off when trying to recruit them. This new online tool will bring much-needed transparency to the fees that agencies charge to enable school leaders to see what they are getting for their money.

“This is the latest step in our effort to help schools bear down some of the costs they face, building on the School Resource Management Strategy I launched last year to provide practical advice and support to school leaders so that they can focus on what they do so well – delivering high-quality education for their pupils.

“There can be no great schools without great teachers to inspire and motivate children, so it’s absolutely right that we help schools to maximise the money they have to spend in the classroom by working together, making sure they’re getting the best deals and are not being overcharged for services.”