The Department of Education and Children (DEC) is using innovative measures to attract high quality teachers to the Island.
That is the message from Graham Cregeen MHK, Minister for Education and Children, after a report by UK MPs this week highlighted issues surrounding the recruitment of teachers.
The Commons Education Committee called for a long-term plan in the UK as schools struggle to recruit teachers. It warned a lack of teachers is causing problems in 'shortage subjects' in secondary schools, including physics, maths and computing.
The Minister told the House of Keys recently that there are 13 unfilled teaching posts in primary schools and 24 in secondaries, with others being filled by either supply staff or staff who usually teach a different subject.
The Minister said:
'As we lay the foundations for our young people to become active contributors to our economy, it is essential we attract high calibre teachers to our five secondary schools and 32 primary schools.
'The Island isn't immune to the problem of recruiting teachers and faces stiff competition in the form of incentives offered elsewhere. In England, for example, teachers with a first class honours degree in science are offered up to £60,000 to train provided they commit to teaching there.
'However, the Isle of Man is making strenuous efforts to highlight to potential recruits the many benefits of teaching in the Isle of Man.
'These include our excellent quality of life, successful economy and low personal taxation, good quality schools and attainment, our record for innovation, our freedom from the constraints of education systems elsewhere and our rich culture and heritage.'
The Minister said:
'The DEC has been working with leading UK education recruitment agency Hays to promote teaching on the Island.
'Hays has developed a 'microsite' dedicated to Isle of Man vacancies, promoting them across a database of some 100,000+ colleagues, has conducted a 'Careers on the Isle of Man' postcard campaign and is ensuring the Island is represented at recruitment fairs.
'The DEC offers 'golden hellos' – additional payments to new teachers at the start of their second and third years of permanent employment with the Department following qualification.
'It offers rent subsidies for teachers in shortage subjects and relocation packages (housing subsidies towards mortgage or rent payments for two years, plus relocation costs).
'It is about to advertise the benefits of teaching on the Isle of Man through ITV Player,'
the Minister said.
'During 2016, representatives of all five secondaries spent considerable time at UK teacher training institutions promoting teaching on the Island and seeking out potential recruits. They have also created a fantastic video, extolling the advantages of teaching in the Island.
'The waiving by the Government of the requirement for a work permit for secondary school teachers is aiding recruitment, especially when candidates have a choice of posts and need speedy confirmation from us as an employer.'
The DEC is also creating new pathways into teaching for those already working in schools, the Minister said, via qualifications with University College Isle of Man (UCM) in partnership with UK universities and in-school mentoring. The five secondaries have 15 staff pursuing these qualifications at present.