Supplying teachers to keep schools working well during the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the busiest year to date as Academics celebrates 10 years since establishing a regional office covering Staffordshire and Cheshire.

Staff working at the Stoke-on-Trent regional office of specialist recruitment company Academics, had their busiest months to date, in June and July 2021, as schools battled the Coronavirus ‘pingdemic’.

Academics took the decision to invest in the area in 2011, setting up home at the Genesis Centre, near Tunstall.

Regional Manager Emily Faragher was recruited from the education charity sector and has steadily grown Academics’ presence across the area, while developing a six-strong team of education recruitment specialists (Emily and five others).

“I’d previously worked as programme manager locally for education charity Young Enterprise, covering Staffordshire, and was familiar with schools locally, but it was a major move for me when I was approached by Academics about establishing an office in Stoke-on-Trent,” said Academics’ Regional Manager, Emily.

“But I’d previously met the company Managing Director and I had faith in how the company worked to support schools. We’ve grown year on year and added to both our team and the number of schools we support.”

In July 2021, Emily’s team worked with 58 schools and had over 150 staff, both teachers and teaching assistants, working across Staffordshire and Cheshire. This compared with less than 20 schools in 2013.

Emily said the pandemic has made a busy office even busier.

She explained: “In common with all businesses, schools felt the strain at the peak of Covid-19 isolation in June and July. It was said that more than half a million people were ‘pinged’ by the Covid-19 NHS app in the week up to 7 July and this took its toll on all workplaces including schools.

“This resulted in the highest demand yet for supply staff, however, my team were fantastic in the way they stepped up to the challenge.”

Academics has 17 offices across the UK, working with the nursery, primary, secondary and FE sectors.

Emily said: “We pride ourselves on liaising with schools in our area and becoming a trusted partner. Staff sickness is inevitable, not just in a pandemic, and there’s a national shortage of teachers with the government missing its target for recruitment in each of the seven years up to 2019.

“On the other side of the equation, there’s a lot of excellent teachers who either can’t work full time, or prefer to work part time, so we are also in regular contact with them. We’re proud of our record of delivering continuity in the classroom and our development of strong partnerships with both schools and teachers.

“We’ve developed a pool of extremely high-quality supply teachers and I want to use this landmark anniversary to thank them for their dedication and hard work.”

(Main image The Academics team, from left to right, Matt Picariello, Claire Cookson, Hannah Roberts, Emily Faragher, Beth Foulkes and Dave Arthur.)

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