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Facebook is being used for the first time to recruit experienced teachers for Kent's schools.
A campaign called Teach Kent has been launched on the site aiming to promote the county to job hunters and to encourage the increasing numbers of staff who are drawn to higher salaries at London's schools, to think again.
Kent needs more experienced male and head teachers as well as specialists in art, languages, English, maths, chemistry and biology – particularly in the east of the county.
Between September 2010 and 2011, 1,433 teaching posts were advertised. centrally. Between 2011 and 2012, that grew to 1,680, and the figure is expected to rise again for the 2012/13 academic year.
There are 16,190 female staff members in Kent primary schools, compared with just 1,521 men. Last year 251 leadership posts were advertised. With a large number of head teachers approaching retirement, this figure is expected to grow still further.
Using the notion of a better way of life awaits you in Kent, teachers are asked to post their idea of a ‘Perfect Kent Day’ on specially-designed Facebook page. Other Facebook users are asked to ‘Like’ each story and the one with the most ‘Likes’ wins a trip to Kent.
During the visit, winners will have to take photos and record a film about their experience. The material will be edited into a short film and hosted on YouTube, while selected footage will be used for online video adverts. The winners will also be asked to take part in promoting the benefits of Kent as a great place to live and teach.
Kent County Council has the largest education department in the UK, with just over 14,000 teachers responsible for 300,000 students across 600 schools. One recruitment headache for Kent is its proximity to London. Higher salaries and the capital’s transport network attract more teachers, even though the quality of life and cost of living in Kent is better.
Samantha Vandersteen, recruitment marketing officer at Kent County Council, said: “Kent is tackling the shortfall in experienced teachers head on with an innovative campaign designed to get teachers from across the UK to think again about Kent. We want teachers to imagine living and working in Kent, and then turn the dream into a reality.
"We’re breaking the mould with this campaign, instead of going to market with a tired message placed on overused ad platforms, we’re trying something new, to give people a real glimpse of what their life could be like in Kent."