beesatract

Recruit, Attract, Retain

Getting the right staff in the right jobs and keeping them are ongoing challenges for most schools. Unsurprisingly, teacher recruitment and retention remains an issue. Initial Teacher Education figures show that we are falling short of achieving secondary recruitment targets and in 2015/16 the only subjects where the Teacher Supply Model recruitment target was met were English, History and PE.[1]

The fact that retention is low need not necessarily always be a bad thing. Schools in challenging areas do naturally tend to have a higher turnover of staff. But staff turnover within the profession can also be immensely positive. Wanting to remain in a job you love is natural. But movement helps to develop experience, gain new impetus and refresh attitudes and mindsets. Movement also spreads talent and experience around the profession. If we were living in an age where the teaching profession was looked at as a whole rather than competitively between schools, we would applaud movement and encourage it. Continuing professional learning would be of utmost priority and movement to pursue career aspirations would be supported and facilitated.

However the problem does occur where wastage is high and quality, trained colleagues are leaving to pursue careers entirely away from the world of education we must act (wastage is around 10.4%[2]). Measures to address what can be addressed should be implemented despite the fact that good morale often seems to be dependent on factors outside our control such as the nature of political debate on education.

Being absolutely committed to ensuring that teachers have balance in their lives must take precedence and once that is in the process of being achieved, helping them to thrive through progress and development in their work must follow. Helping teachers to feel valued and acknowledging the immense effort they put in will help too. Maximising the benefits of teacher movement and developing collaborations between schools so that teachers can gain experience in other settings either to enrich their teaching in their own school or as preparation for next steps just might go some way to improving the health of the profession.

We can ill afford to lose teachers at this time, and need to do more to address the dissatisfactions that so many seem to be feeling. After all, stability and movement between schools rather than out of the profession, altogether can only serve young learners well.

Attract & Recruit

We’re not training enough professionals and we’re not managing to retain them in sufficient numbers. Initial Teacher Education figures show that we are falling short of achieving secondary recruitment targets and in 2015/16 the only subjects where the Teacher Supply Model recruitment target was met were English, History and PE.[1]

People are not attracted to the profession for a variety of reasons but workload is perhaps the most significant one. Compare the hours put in by many teachers with those working in other careers and it’s easy to see why some are actively seeking out better balance in their lives.

Talk to any group of trainee teachers, though, and you’ll be struck by their determination and optimism about their chosen career. Many are surprised when told about poor retention levels and I have often heard trainees say that they are determined to stay in the job once they have gone through all the training.

However, it’s not just workload that is forcing teachers to leave the profession (and if you want to know more about the devastating human impact of excessive workload just take a look at the research of the Education Support Partnership – bringing together Teacher Support Network, Worklife Support and Recourse – or any of the teacher unions). Pay, constant policy changes and the general politicisation of education, changes to pensions, and performance related pay are just some of the factors pushing teachers out of their jobs.

Where wastage is high and quality, trained colleagues are leaving to pursue careers entirely away from the world of education we must act (wastage is around 10.4%[2]). Not only is this detrimental to the teaching profession, individual schools but it can be disruptive to learners facing greater than average blocks to learning. Continuity for children matters.

Measures to address what can be addressed should be implemented despite the fact that good morale often seems to be dependent on factors outside our control such as the nature of political debate on education.

[1]  http://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/teacher-recruitment-and-retention

[2] ibid

2 thoughts on “Recruit, Attract, Retain

  1. Trying to retain good teachers is next to impossible especially in states schools when one considers that you are expected to stay on after school and run a club for no extra pay, deal with unruly children when they are next to impossible to expel,undertake unnecessary paperwork and tow the line the line with school inspections giving a false impression to inspectors… Is it any wonder that this is a huge problem.

  2. Teachers who do want to pursue leadership positions are made to jump through hurdles not found in other professions. I know of many colleagues who have interviewed for positions to only later find out that the position was pretty much guaranteed to an internal candidate — and several where the position was only advertised because the school was told they had to — Time and resources that could be better spent in other ways! Morale is low amongst teachers for many reasons — pay, work load, expectations, constantly changing agendas are a few — but really outstanding places nurture their staff and make them feel valued. Teachers used to stay in the profession for 20 plus years — often at the same school — Have we seen an end to these days?

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