With more than 50 of Kent’s secondary schools now offering the International Baccalaureate (IB), an education recruitment specialist has warned that there is a shortage of experienced candidates to fill vacancies across the county.
50% rise in demand
Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, which has offices across Kent, has seen a 50% rise in demand for teachers with IB experience during the past year, as increasing numbers of Kent’s secondary schools have chosen to offer the international education programme, which is an alternative to British qualifications such as GCSEs and A-levels. Despite the huge rise in demand, vacancies remain unfilled due to a shortage of candidates with IB experience.
More than 20 grammar and independent schools in Kent currently offer the IB, together with around 30 of the county’s comprehensive schools. Initially Three R’s reports that the majority of requests came from schools in the independent sector, as they tend to have higher numbers of overseas students. However, during the past year requests from state schools have risen rapidly and now represent around half of all demand.
Nikki Curry, Secondary Education Consultant at Three R’s, said: ‘Schools in Kent are turning to the IB for a variety of reasons, whether that’s because the programme offers high quality education or career-focussed vocational training, they have a high number of overseas students who want to move on to higher education abroad, or because offering the IB is seen as prestigious and a sign of quality.”
‘In September 2016, 26 state schools in Kent joined the IB programme,” explained Nikki. “This has contributed to a sharp rise in demand for practitioners with experience of teaching the IB over the past year. However, demand is far higher than the supply of suitable candidates at present. We are working hard to identify high quality candidates with the relevant skills and experience needed to teach the IB, and we have a number of initiatives, including a series of open days throughout the summer, which will hopefully boost the recruitment of teachers with IB experience. As more schools start to introduce the IB syllabus, we also expect that the supply of teachers with relevant experience will start to pick up.’
Founded in 1968, the International Baccalaureate is a non-profit educational foundation offering four programmes of international education for students aged three to 19 years. Schools must apply for World School status and must pass stringent criteria before they are able to offer the IB.
The education programmes aim to develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills and critical thinking that young people will need to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalising world. The range of qualifications are intended to enable students to apply to higher education establishments in many countries across the globe.