Published: 07:00, 23 November 2016
| Updated: 07:46, 23 November 2016
Kent County Council has turned to New Zealand to recruit teachers to fill vacancies at a number of Kent schools.
Education chiefs travelled to Christchurch in October to interview 26 primary and secondary teachers for jobs in Kent.
As a result of the visit 12 teachers were offered posts at a number of the county’s schools.
It comes as the county council revealed that there are 40 schools across Kent which do not have a headteacher.
A report due to be discussed by county councillors today says that those schools without a head teacher have what is described as “ robust interim leadership arrangements in place.”
This includes schools being supervised by an executive headteacher and in some cases an interim headteacher.
KCC says it is confident that schools without permanent headteachers are still being led well.
But it has acknowledged that recruitment continues to be a challenge in the face of large numbers leaving the profession.
It has also revealed that both parents and pupils who were surveyed in a research project the council conducted did not regard teaching as an aspirational career.
Research also suggested that both children and pupils saw teaching as underpaid, undervalued and stressful.
Cllr Roger Gough, KCC Cabinet member for schools said it was clear that Kent along with most part of the country faced challenges when trying to attract teachers.
“Clearly there are pressures and people often ask whether headship is the right thing.It is worth remembering that it is 40 schools without a head out of 600.
"It is not that high a number. There is no doubt though that it is a bit of a challenge with recruitment and retention right across the profession.”
“What we are trying to do is support what goes on so there is a pool of talent and that there are people willing to take on leadership roles.”
He accepted that many parents preferred to see what he called visible leadership but there were a variety of ways to do that.
On the initiative to recruit staff from abroad, he said: “We have always looked to recruit more widely even though the bulk of our teachers come through local recruitment.
"But we have had examples of casting the net more widely and over a number of years recruited from Ireland.”
“There is always a case for doing that but what we do see is that there is an issue with recruitment in the public sector and there is a pressure in certain parts of the county.”