Northern Ireland news

Co-op schools group targets newly qualified teachers in Northern Ireland

The Co-op Academies Trust, which operates 12 schools in Leeds, Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent, will hold recruitment events in Northern Ireland

A CHAIN of academy schools is hoping to recruit teachers in Northern Ireland to help tackle a shortage of staff in England.

The Co-op Academies Trust, which operates 12 schools in Leeds, Manchester and Stoke-on-Trent, will hold recruitment events in Northern Ireland, where there are more newly qualified teachers than jobs.

The number of registered teachers last year in the north was 26,719 although the total with either permanent contracts or substantial temporary contracts of a term or more was 20,165. Just 15 per cent of classroom staff were aged between 24 to 29.

The Department of Education launched its own multi-million pound drive to replace hundreds of older teachers with younger staff this year.

The Teaching Workforce Scheme will release up to 200 teachers in 2018/19. It was originally intended that up to 500 recently qualified graduates would replace those willing to retire early. The scheme was heavily oversubscribed.

Now, the Co-op, which has announced plans to treble in size by 2022, will offer a benefits package to successful candidates.

Frank Norris, director of the Co-op Academies Trust, said: "We have vacancies across our various academies and because we are part of the Co-op we can offer benefits not usually associated with teaching."

Benefits will include discounts at Co-op stores, some relocation costs and interest-free loans to cover the deposit on a rented property.

The current academies supported by the Co-op have more than 10,000 students and employ over 1,000 teachers and support staff.

As more schools join the Trust, those numbers will grow to more than 40,000 students and 4,000 staff in four years' time.

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