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Bid to lure new teachers in wake of Trojan Horse

Schools in Birmingham are facing recruitment crisis which has prompted a new campaign to find more teachers

Sir Mike Tomlinson is Birmingham's education commissioner.
Sir Mike Tomlinson says recruitment is the biggest issue facing schools

A campaign to lure teachers to Birmingham schools facing a recruitment crisis in the wake of the alleged Islamist Trojan Horse plot is to be launched.

Sir Mike Tomlinson, Birmingham's Education Commissioner parachuted in to help turn schools around following the scandal, said council chiefs were currently thinking up "special packages of employment terms" that would appeal to teachers across the country.

It comes after a alleged plot by hardline Muslims to take control of governing bodies, which saw five Birmingham schools plunged into special measures by education watchdog Ofsted in April last year.

Sir Mike told the Post: "The biggest issue facing schools is recruitment, it is a problem nationally but certainly in Birmingham there is the added challenge [of Trojan Horse]. The national media have talked very negatively about Birmingham schools, focusing on a small proportion of them.

"It means all schools have been affected by the activities of a few – that's added to the problem with recruitment."

He said the packages would not include higher wages but instead offer chances for teachers to progress their careers and become involved with school improvement.

"Many, many teachers don't put pay at the top of their list, they put personal and professional development first," he added.

Sir Mike was talking at a conference of headteachers and school governors organised by Birmingham Education Partnership.

BEP has been commissioned by Birmingham City Council to turn all of Birmingham's 400-plus schools into 'good' or 'outstanding' education providers.

It is set to create ten clusters of schools – one in each of the city's constituency areas. A head teacher will be appointed as a district leader in each of the clusters, identifying problems and sharing best practice.

The scheme is being introduced in a bid to prevent a repeat of the Trojan Horse plot.

Sir Mike said he believed the initiative could see Birmingham leading the way in school improvement.

"All the evidence around school improvement shows the most effective and long-lasting way to do it is by schools working with schools," he added.

He praised Birmingham's teachers and school governors for their dedication and hard work.

"What strikes me is their passion for doing what's best for Brummie children," he said. "They have a strong moral purpose. A lot of them are giving up enormous amounts of time to help other schools while running their own at the same time."

The move comes as it was announced earlier this month that Tim Boyes will be seconded from his current role as head teacher at Queensbridge School in Moseley for 12 months to become chief executive of BEP.

Current chief executive Alastair Falk, who is to become BEP's director of partnerships, said Mr Boyes' track record at Queensbridge - rated "outstanding" by Ofsted - made him the ideal candidate for the role.

"It is our strong belief that school improvement works best when it is the schools themselves that are leading," said Mr Falk.

"So it was important that we had a successful head of Tim's calibre at the forefront to help convey the message to other head teachers in the city that they are absolutely central to the success of this programme."

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