15th May 2023
Schools are Resorting to "Golden Hello" Payments to Attract Teachers in Shortage Subjects
Schools are offering bonuses of up to £10,000.
Schools are increasingly resorting to "golden hello" payments to attract teachers in shortage subjects, offering bonuses of up to £10,000. However, these incentives come with a catch – teachers must complete up to three years in the job to receive the full amount. According to workforce census data, the proportion of schools offering such incentives has declined from nearly one in 10 in 2018 to eight percent in 2021. Nevertheless, recent data from job search website Indeed for Schools Week indicates a surge in job advertisements featuring golden hello payments, with sign-up bonuses increasing from 0.1 percent in April 2021 to one percent this month.
The Howard Academy Trust, which oversees seven schools in Kent, is currently advertising 15 teaching positions with a £5,000 golden hello. However, only half of this amount would be paid upon completion of a six-month probation, with the remaining half scheduled for September 2024 as a retention incentive. The receipt of the second payment is contingent upon the successful candidate remaining at the school for at least the following year. The incentives are being offered for both nationally recognized shortage subjects and subjects that schools have struggled to fill, including English, geography, and physical education.
Kyle Taylor, the trust's finance and operations director, acknowledged that while their schools have a good reputation, changes in recruitment strategies were necessary due to a decrease in the pool of potential candidates. Taylor added that most teaching jobs, particularly in secondary schools, are fortunate to receive two quality applicants for a single position..
Incentives Added to Job Adverts
Various job advertisements on education jobs site TES highlight the use of golden hello phrases. For instance, Osborne Primary School in Birmingham offers a £10,000 bonus spread over three years for a class teacher. The incentive involves receiving £2,000 after the first year, £2,000 after the second year, and £6,000 at the end of the third year. However, some incentives require teachers to reimburse the bonuses if they leave within a specified timeframe.
Schools like Hampstead School in north London have resorted to adding incentives to job adverts after initial recruitment rounds failed to yield candidates. Headteacher Matthew Sadler noted that the tactic had some impact in attracting teachers, but it is being continually reviewed. An advertisement for a computing teacher at Hampstead School includes a five percent incentive on their salary for up to three years, recognizing the high demand for exceptional computing and ICT teachers.
The education sector faces a supply crisis, with 8.1 percent of state school teachers leaving the profession in 2021, a 12.4 percent increase from the previous year. Among newly qualified teachers, the percentage leaving within one year rose from 11.7 percent in 2020 to 12.5 percent in 2021. Additionally, the government is projected to recruit less than half of the necessary secondary school teachers this year, the lowest number since 2010. While the government previously implemented a golden hello scheme for priority subject teachers, it ended in 2019. Recent initiatives have focused on retention payment schemes to attract the best new teachers to disadvantaged schools, including the £3,000 "levelling up" premium. Evidence suggests that these incentives have a positive impact on teacher retention. However, there are concerns about the affordability of such schemes, as teacher pay increases strain tight budgets. Some schools have had to make cuts in other areas to fund these bonuses. For example, the Howard Academy Trust reduced its teacher recruitment service subscription to allocate funds for the incentives. Affordability and budget constraints pose challenges for schools implementing such schemes. John Howson, chair of TeachVac, warns that schools may feel compelled to offer similar incentives or risk losing out. He also notes that if most schools adopt these practices, it effectively becomes a salary increase for new staff, potentially prompting existing