Merton Council will formally welcome its new teaching recruits from South Africa later this month.
The 50 teachers, who were hand picked after Merton took part in a special recruitment trip to Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth in May this year to recruit for specific vacancies, will take part in an induction day and be officially welcomed to the borough.
As a result of the trip to South Africa made by Angeles Walford, Headteacher of The Priory School and Senior Inspector Paul Greenhalgh, 20 teachers were selected to start in Merton’s schools in September 2001 and up to 30 further are lined up to start in January 2002.
The induction day will give the teachers, many of whom will have just arrived in the borough, a chance to learn more about Merton’s education system, the schools they will working in and a chance to meet future colleagues.
The South African trip, run by teacher recruitment company Time Plan, was used as one way to proactively address teacher shortages within the borough, although Merton is in a much better position than many other London boroughs.
In a joint statement, the Cabinet members responsible for Education, Councillors Maxi Martin, Danny Connellan and Karl Carter, said: “This is an extremely positive initiative for schools in Merton.
“We recognised that we needed to face the national teacher shortage head on and we did something about it. We have recruited more than 50 excellent teachers from South Africa.
“It is a chance for them to become involved in a dynamic education system outside their own country and our schools and our pupils will benefit from their enthusiasm and different perspective on life and education.
“The teachers will have this experience with them for the rest of their careers and will be able to draw on it, wherever they decide to teach next. It will make them stronger teachers, and that can only be beneficial for the schools and pupils they will work with in the future.”