Q1 – What unusual strategies does your school use to recruit new teachers?
Q2 – How can teachers make the profession more appealing to the ‘outside world’ and improve recruitment?
Q3 – With teacher-demand high, it is an employee’s market, what will this mean for schools?
Q4 – What cost-effective benefits can schools offer to retain staff?
Q5 – Aside from money, what single factor would keep you at a particular school?
Q6 – Can UK teachers be unified to solve problems of retention from within, and if so how?
Q7 – What strategies and opportunities can senior leaders use to motivate their staff, ultimately ensuring they stay?
Q8 – When experienced teachers are costly, how can schools balance both the books and their staffing?
Q9 – What would you say to a member of staff indicating they are leaving the profession?
The 3 Rs: Recruitment, Retention and Retirement
Schools are already trying lots of different ways to ensure they get the best candidates for the job. @thisteacherlvs suggested contacting unis and NQTs still on their first placement, while @MrJDexter said doing the basics well, keeping the staff you have should be a high priority to avoid recruitment crisis in your school. @chris_eyre also believed that retaining good teachers will become more important than recruitment in next few years.
@MrsPTeach said that she believed Twitter may be the way forward. @DanielHugill thought subject associations may be able to assist and mentioned NATRE being willing to help with RE recruitment. @gazneedle wondered if local email lists, church bulletins and your own school newsletter may help? @aknill started a debate about using LinkdIn for teachers – useful or not?
@scottjw88 made the vital point that schools must recruit where needed, and with the best staff, regardless of pay point. Middle leaders often provide the experience that school community may often need. @chris_eyre said “if you think hiring a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur.”; quite rightly, sometimes experience counts. It was suggested by others that if experience is needed then the budget plan needs to support it.
@ncjbrown warned that she had heard of schools “poaching” which may be the end result of shortages. @sharonsmith_edu said she had found teachers via GumTree – who knew?!
@MrsPTeach made the good point that we shouldn’t ‘sugar coat’ the job to get applicants who will then drop out early on. @sharonsmith_edu said we should share the fact that it’s hellishly hard work and exhausting, but so rewarding and worthwhile. @thisteacherlvs reminded us not to use social media to moan about the job.
@SeftonReligion mentioned that her school offered various benefits such medical cover with grade and attendance related bonuses. @MrMcKavanaghRE suggested that government should provide the resources to allow schools to retain staff, i.e. more funding for higher salaries.
Many, such as @MrsPTeach beleived it was the governments issue to solve and this was echoed by many others. It may be beyond the classroom teacher to solve! However she warned potentially weak candidates will be employed in haste causing the job to be even tougher for colleagues. Yet @gailabbitt It’s okay to recruit potentially weak candidates as long as they are provided with the support they need.
@ncjbrown was not alone saying we really need to tackle working conditions. Several mentioned staff wellbeing, while @mrjlight said we can keep staff by doing things for the right reason and reducing workload. @mrspteach shared that her school provided stress-management sessions, INSETs for report-writing, support for those struggling with workload. A few people mentioned about moral boosting free tea, coffee and CAKE! One other practical suggestion came from @gailabbitt who introduced a box where teachers, support staff, SLT could nominate each other – and convinced SM to buy the chocolates as a prize!
@crumptonn pointed out teachers leave as they are exhausted and want to see their families. This prompted @ncjbrown to say that it may help to offer promotion (and this doesn’t just mean to SLT) or greater flexibility like part-time work. There was some debate about why schools don’t allow job-sharing of middle or senior leader roles which could be hugely beneficial. @stevewn liked the idea of a couple of flexible days off for staff in a year at ‘appropriate’ times… family/hobby/lifestyle friendly.
@gailabbitt warned about even more inequality between schools depending on their perceived reputation. This inequality was furthered by @aknill who pointed out recruitment videos for teaching show resourcing levels many schools do not have.
Many shared the idea that you cannot underestimate the power of thanks, and that every small success can be shared with colleagues. We all know those who needs such affirmation.
It was pointed out that for some teachers, they consider moving on or quitting because they don’t have time to develop and review. Others suggested that teachers should not be working ‘at capacity’ and it is really important schools employ enough additional staff to lighten the workload. A popular comment was made suggesting that SLT need to ignore OfSTED and focus on pupils and staff. That way, they’ll make decisions which benefit both.
As @cloudtrainuk pointed out even time for internal CPD to share outstanding practice is sometimes missed! @principlecorss said he always felt that if I was being really productive, and felt valued I would stay at a school even with lower pay. Again many pointed out that making people feel valued is so vital, and costs nothing. @cathrynparkes suggested that SLT should be actively confidence building.
A good idea from @headhighwood suggested that sending staff to shadow in other local schools ensures staff don’t need to leave to gain other experiences. While a school with a strong sense of mission and vision is important in retaining it’s staff said @thembinkosi.
@danielhugill suggested it was important to celebrate teachers who want to remain in the classroom. Not pushing people into thinking “success = promotion”. @lisa7pettifer made the valid point that some older teachers want to reduce roles without losing self esteem, and they should remain valued.
A number of pointed out that a high team morale makes even the toughest of days and greatest of burdens workable. Teachers are your most valuable asset if you are running a school, but sometimes they are just not looked after in the right way. Feeling valued and job satisfaction is genuinely more important than money for many teachers.
@aknill asked why teachers aged 50+ are no longer seen as desirable? Many people said they would ask why a colleague wanted to leave, but, given the current climate, could totally understand it. A number suggested that if someone wants to leave, it is always worth suggesting that they change their school rather than change their job – many teachers DO love their job!