Branding agencies predatory is misleading and unhelpful to teachers, says TLTP chief
Darryl Mydat, managing director of TLTP Education (The London Teaching Pool) says that comments reported from the recent Westminster Education Forum seem to suggest that some schools and authorities want to deny candidates their basic right to use one or more recruitment agencies to find a job.
“Nobody is forcing any teacher to sign up with any recruitment agency,” explains Mydat. “That is their choice and most teachers - NQT and otherwise - in reality sign up with multiple agencies. At university milk rounds, we have seen not only agencies in attendance but also proactive schools and authorities seeking to attract new teachers. It’s a free market.”
He adds that comments made about the size of recruitment agency fees are also misleading.
“There is a suggestion that agencies simply place a teacher and pocket a large fee. This seems to intentionally ignore the fact that agencies are covering the cost of National Insurance, Holiday Pay and Public Liability Insurance of teachers on their books, as well as their own staff costs. Fees charged do not simply go straight to the agency's bottom line.”
Mydat backs this up by citing a comment made about a school advertising "five times in 15 months for a geography teacher, but received little response". “Agencies spend an enormous amount of money on ongoing advertising and digital marketing which probably explains why they can deliver candidates that schools struggle to reach for themselves,” he says.
“This is an added value service. Good agencies can help schools by removing the need for them to commit time reviewing CVs or doing background checks on candidates, which removes the onus from the school to do a lot of the background work as well as marketing. In the same way that candidates aren’t forced to use an agency, schools aren’t either.”
Recruitment agencies, he adds, will continue to have an important role to play, not least in delivering illness cover and maternity cover as well as permanent and contract placements. But, Mydat warns, schools should do their homework when considering which agencies to work with.
“Many of the problems come down to schools’ relationships with the agencies with which they choose to work. Not all agencies behave the same way. We would never charge up front fees, for example. But this is why we always say that schools should work with agencies that are members of the REC (Recruitment & Employment Confederation) and which have REC accredited status.”
Founded in 2006, TLTP Group is a privately owned recruitment consultancy specialising in the supply of professionals to both the public and private sectors worldwide. TLTP is one of the few education recruiters to hold the REC Gold Award, the benchmark for safeguarding.