Bus tours have taken hundreds of teacher training students around schools in Bradford this year as part of a successful project to attract the best people to work in the district’s classrooms.
The tours, organised by Bradford Council, give those training to be teachers an insight into what life is like in the district’s schools to get them to consider beginning their careers here.
The most recent bus tour took students who are training with the Bradford Birth to 19 School Centred Initial Teacher Training. Four busses toured 12 schools around the Bradford district.
Tours have also taken place for students from Leeds Beckett and Leeds Trinity Universities and there is another planned next month for students from Bradford College. In total around 400 students will tour the district’s schools this academic year.
They have been organised as part of Bradford Council’s drive to recruit and retain the best teachers in the district. The authority is investing £660,000 over three years on work to help achieve this.
The bus tours are followed by a Journey to Your First Teaching Post workshop where candidates are given advice about applying for jobs, writing personal statements and preparing for their job interviews.
The newly qualified teachers are then invited to apply to a talent bank which has been set up by Bradford Council to allow the district’s schools to find the best candidates for their vacancies.
The talent bank is the first of its kind in the country. It has allowed the Council to use local expertise to match newly qualified teachers to suitable jobs which they can then apply for.
Bradford Council’s Recruitment and Retention Strategy manager Sara Rawnsley said: “The first year of the bus tours and talent bank has been hugely successful. It was launched in nursery and primary schools in its first year and is now being extended into secondary schools.
“The talent bank benefits both new teachers and schools. It provides teachers with preparation for their job interviews and gets them to think about the type of school they would like to work in and it has provided our schools with access to a pool of talented newly qualified teachers.
“But the talent bank is not just restricted to newly qualified teachers. I am keen to hear from experienced teachers, especially out of Bradford district, who would like the opportunity to come and work in our vibrant, diverse city – there is something for everyone here – from small rural schools to large inner city successful schools.
“The aim of our work is to get people who are thinking about going into teaching to think about Bradford and to see for themselves what life is like inside our schools. “We also want people in Bradford to think about teaching. We want to make sure that we recruit and retain the best teachers possible. We know this approach is working with 90 teachers starting their careers in the district this year after having come on our bus tours.”
Among those was Olivia Rawson, 21, from Wakefield, who has started working at Bowling Park Primary in Bradford, having visited it during a tour.
She said: “Had I never visited Bowling Park on the bus tour, I may have never applied. The bus tour gave me an opportunity to look at a variety of schools in an area that I would probably have never thought about. The wide range of schools we toured helped me to address any misconceptions about Bradford I may have had.”
“Before the bus tour my perception of Bradford was very uncertain. I was unsure of what to expect from schools in the Bradford area or if I would be suited to the challenge of working there. However, the environment schools create in the Bradford area and the inspirational work that goes on to build aspirations for each individual quickly met the challenge I was looking for in a school.
“I would definitely recommend teaching in Bradford. It has such a diverse culture and environment that brings along new challenges each day. The children in Bradford are brilliant as they want to and deserve to come to school. I believe that by working in Bradford, you can have a much bigger impact on the children as they deserve to have the opportunities to learn and enjoy school. I think many people may have the wrong perception on Bradford – it provides excellent opportunities for teachers, children and the whole community.”
Coun Imran Khan, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Education, Employment and Skills said: “It is great to see the success of our investment to attract more teachers to the district.
“Our work on teacher recruitment and retention has made a real difference to Bradford schools with 90 teachers in post thanks to the bus tours and talent bank. We know that teaching in Bradford schools can be very rewarding and we are keen to hear from newly qualified and experienced teachers who are up for the challenge of making a difference to the lives of children in our district.”