Leeds & West Yorkshire

Bradford bus tours to entice teachers to city

Schools in Bradford
Image caption The bus tours visit a range of primary schools in different parts of Bradford

Trainee teachers are being given bus tours of schools in Bradford in a bid to help tackle a recruitment crisis.

Students on teacher training courses in West Yorkshire are taken around primary schools to meet staff and children to entice them to work in the city.

The council said 58% of primary schools and 63% of secondary schools in Bradford faced recruitment problems.

The Department for Education said it was investing "hundreds of millions in teacher recruitment".

In December, Ofsted's chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said Bradford's schools were in the lowest-achieving 10 authorities at both primary and secondary level.

Of the 100,000 pupils in city schools, 40,000 were in schools rated as "less than good" and 8,000 of these were in schools labelled as "inadequate".

John Howarth, from the Bradford branch of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: "Bradford is a challenging place to work but it's also exciting."

Image copyright PA

The council said there were not enough people applying for teaching posts and problems with the quality of applicants.

It said recruitment was tougher in inner-city areas and schools rated poorly by Ofsted.

Additionally, a council survey of 600 teachers found more than half were considering leaving their jobs.

The bus tours, thought to be unique to Bradford, are intended to "dispel myths" about the city's schools.

Mr Howarth, who taught in Bradford for 25 years, said: "It can be challenging, there is a lot of migration from Eastern Europe and issues with poverty. But there are huge rewards from making a difference to the life of a child and helping them in their education."

Image copyright PA

Former Bradford head teacher Sara Rawnsley, who has been appointed by the council to tackle the recruitment problem, said: "I took a group of students from Leeds Beckett University on a bus tour to an inner city school and they had a really negative image about what it was going to be like.

"Bradford gets a bad reputation for being challenging but, after they'd seen the school for themselves, they came away with a totally different view."

Ms Rawnsley said the tours had been a "tremendous success" and some 100 final year trainee teachers had put themselves forward to be considered for future positions.

Tours of secondary schools are planned to start next year.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "Despite the challenges of a competitive jobs market, teaching remains a hugely popular profession.

"The quality of teachers is at an all-time high and despite rising numbers the pupil to teacher ratio has remained stable."

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