At the end of last month, the Goverment launched a new recruitment website for teachers which could save schools millions in advertising costs. It’s called the Schools Recruitment Service, and in the words of the press release, ‘the service could save up to £30 million per year in time, administration and advertising costs, if all schools in England join.’
So far, 52 local authorities have signed up, and both the concept and the website are impressive. A typical secondary school might expect to pay only about £250 per year to advertise all its teaching and support vacancies. Job-seekers use the service for free.
Yet all the British media, including the TES, have fallen silent, and it’s not hard to see why: if the Government annexes this huge source of advertising revenue for themselves, it poses yet another threat to the beleagured British newspapers.
Google News, which collates all references to news items, has only five references to the Schools Recruitment Service, one of which is an article on a journalism website. This article links to an angry blog post by the editor of The Northern Echo, Peter Barron, who states,
I can’t help thinking that there’s a conflict between what the Prime Minister says about the importance of local papers, and one of his ministers rubbing his hands with glee at the prospect of vital advertising revenue being taken away from those same local newspapers and diverted into a Government portal … The irony is that the Schools Minister is actually sending out press releases to local newspapers across the country, asking them to advertise (for free) the Government’s new on-line service which is designed to undermine their businesses.
The Schools Recruitment Service has the potential to revolutionize the way teachers apply for jobs in schools. However, whether it can gather enough support from the educational community remains to be seen.