Hear from Claire Hilton, LTA Project Manager and Jeanette Whitham, Head of Schools HR Team at Lancashire County Council here:
The Lancashire Teaching Agency (LTA) provides a comprehensive solution for the recruitment of permanent and temporary staff for schools across the county. The partnership between Reed and Lancashire County Council celebrates its 20th year of making school recruitment fast, effective and seamless – giving schools access to a high standard of teaching and non-classroom-based staff.
Lancashire needed to address the long-term issues of teacher shortages and first began doing that through the Lancashire recruitment and retention strategy. But it needed to further support headteachers and the pressures they were under in driving up school standards and educational attainment.
Claire Hilton, LTA Project Manager at the Lancashire County Council, said that there “was a gap for offering supply to schools".
She added: “Previously Lancashire operated an A-Z list, so schools were ringing up in a morning when they were desperate for supply, and it was always the same teachers at the top of the list that were asked to cover the same roles.”
The LCC were looking for a recruitment agency to help establish a place where schools could go for all their temporary and permanent staffing requirements, including day-to-day and long-term supply cover and development opportunities for the workforce.
With a desire to change the way teaching staff were recruited in the area, Reed’s education team took an approach to establish a completely new system for finding and recruiting teaching staff, offering schools the opportunity to deliver high standards of teaching.
Initially, the LCC’s school recruitment contract went through a lengthy procurement process, involving a tender panel of key stakeholders and officers from the local authority, to find the right recruitment company to drive the initiative.
Claire added: “From the tender panel, we interviewed recruitment agencies and discovered that Reed were exceptionally good on contract management and customer service, as well as showcasing growth and innovation opportunities.”
David Carter, Senior Regional Manager at Reed, who has worked as part of Reed’s LTA team from the very beginning, wanted to make sure Reed contributed to the local authority's strategy to recruit and retain high quality teachers and support staff in Lancashire schools.
David and his team set out to ensure all teachers and support staff who were placed through the LTA were quality checked against Department for Education guidance prior to interviewing with the school. A greater focus on candidate acquisition, speeding up the process of vetting and compliance, and looking to ensure more high-quality candidates were deployed was also a priority.
David said: “We wanted to develop a service that not only provided teachers to schools, but support staff and non-classroom staff, alongside having tailored training in place to ensure our talent pool were up to date with teaching methods and guidance.”
Reed continues to support schools across Lancashire through the LTA, deploying an average of 1,200 temporary workers per year to assist in delivering high standards of learning.
Over the past two decades, the LTA has not only transformed school recruitment in the county, but also led to better qualified and more engaged staff, generating substantial cost savings. On average, schools save a combined £80,000 a year on staffing through the LTA.
Over the past two years, the LTA contract has been “extended twice and Reed have been successful in achieving the tender on both occasions,” LTA Project Manager Claire said.
We conduct annual surveys both for clients and for candidates, and the feedback we receive is that Reed is exceptional.
LTA Project Manager, Lancashire County Council
Understanding that development is essential for the education sector, the LTA invests heavily in continued professional development (CPD) opportunities. Hundreds of CPD courses are available to members so they can upskill with the relevant guidance and methods of teaching. And since 2018, more than 5,000 bookings have been made across CPD courses offered by the LTA.
Jeanette Whitham, Head of Schools HR Team at Lancashire County Council, said: “The LTA has developed considerably since its inception in 2002. We’re now offering a far wider range of supply staff to schools, including flexible options that are in place to best suit their needs.
Looking back over the progress that has been made, Jeanette said that she “would absolutely recommend Reed as a provider for all school staff,” adding that “it’s been refreshing to see that even during the pandemic that, despite demand far outweighing supply, the high standards of recruitment and selection haven’t been compromised and Reed have been committed to LCC’s requirements.”
Each year80candidates gain permanent roles
Annually1,200supply workers are deployed
Per day30supply staff are placed