In the midst of a teacher shortage crisis, it is more important than ever for schools and trusts to embrace crucial changes to help boost retention. Investing a greater proportion of the school budget in continued professional development (CPD), taking greater time to consider the suitability of potential recruits and paying closer attention to the working relationships of teachers are more likely to have an impact on retention than a continued reliance on short term fixes.
The value of CPD to the quality of education provision remains severely underestimated by most schools and teachers. In fact, schools spend an average of only 0.7% of their allocated budgets on CPD provision and many see it as being too disruptive to tight teaching schedules to justify. Yet offering CPD to staff increases their sense of personal value and supports their career progression. Online/mobile-friendly CPD courses which are accessible at all times give staff the opportunity to complete training in a spare few minutes. More efficient CPD strategies mean that schools can offer CPD to all staff, creating a culture of investment in staff knowledge and practice.
In London as many as four in ten teachers quit within five years. Although many point to high workload as the main factor, an unsupportive workplace is never helpful. Bernard Barker, emeritus professor of Educational Leadership and Management at the University of Leicester, recommends strong leadership which recognises when problems are forming and prevents escalation. In addition he suggests taking a more hands off approach and leaving room for teacher innovation, supporting creativity and the feeling of autonomy.
Picking winners in the recruitment process
The pool of available teachers for any given post may be small but there is still a huge benefit in taking the time to fully consider the suitability of new recruits. Many are willing to offer the job to the first candidate that walks in but this can create more problems than it solves not only for the working environment but also, crucially, the effective learning of students. With patience in the decision-making process you can avoid hiring someone ill-suited to the role and having to repeat the frustrating process of re-hiring.
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