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Collier Row principal plans trip to Australia to tackle teacher shortages in Havering

PUBLISHED: 17:00 25 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:59 27 September 2019

Stuart McLaughlin hopes to recruit teachers from Australia. Picture: Bower Park Academy

Stuart McLaughlin hopes to recruit teachers from Australia. Picture: Bower Park Academy

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A school principal will travel to Australia where he hopes to recruit qualified staff to fill teacher shortages in the borough.

Stuart McLaughlin is going to Brisbane, Australia, in search of teachers for Havering. Picture: Kgbo/Wiki CommonsStuart McLaughlin is going to Brisbane, Australia, in search of teachers for Havering. Picture: Kgbo/Wiki Commons

Stuart McLaughlin will be flying out from Heathrow to Brisbane, where there is a surplus of teachers.

Mr McLaughlin, principal at Bower Park Academy, Havering Road, Collier Row, will meet a pool of candidates and take part in a matching process that will enable him to identify suitable candidates for schools in Havering.

These meetings will be followed up with a Skype interview with the schools' leadership teams.

Mr McLaughlin told the Recorder he plans to fill 30-50 vacancies for Havering's 82 schools.

Stuart McLaughlin is going to Brisbane, Australia, in search of teachers for Havering. Picture: Kgbo/Wiki CommonsStuart McLaughlin is going to Brisbane, Australia, in search of teachers for Havering. Picture: Kgbo/Wiki Commons

"I am also keen to develop strong relationships between Havering and Australian teachers, as I believe the cultural exchange will benefit both the recruits and the borough as a whole," said the principal.

"It is extremely difficult to find qualified teachers for subjects such as physics and maths - the five-year retention rate for these subjects is 50per cent and less than half of physics and maths teachers have a relevant degree in their subject.

"At Bower Park Academy, geography is another challenge.

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"Last term I advertised a geography vacancy three times and had no applicants.

"Fortunately, I did manage to appoint an excellent teacher."

He added that the shortage of teachers is particularly a challenge in outer London.

"Australian recruits are typically bright, enthusiastic and driven with a great sense of humour," he said.

"I know from personal experience at my school that they are extremely popular and well liked by students and inspire a love of learning in their pupils.

"Additionally, the cultural similarities between the UK and Australia enable young recruits to transition smoothly to a new life hundreds of miles away from their home.

"Our ideal candidates will be outgoing, dynamic and eager to learn - the positive attitudes of Aussie teachers mean they fit well into the UK system."

The trip is funded by education recruitment agency Supply Desk and Mr McLaughlin will be charting his innovative journey in a video diary.

Leader of Havering Council, Cllr Damian White, said: "Our schools have reported that it's getting harder to attract the right candidates, so earlier this year we also launched a campaign to promote Havering as a great place to live and work."

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