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Teacher recruitment and retention AIBU

(62 Posts)
WellAlwaysHaveParis Mon 21-May-18 20:54:25

I know this topic has been talked about so many times, but I’m genuinely interested and also getting quite worried about it, so would really appreciate your thoughts on this.

Just saw an advert online for teacher training (I’ve seen so many lately) and it’s really got me thinking.

I trained as a teacher with School Direct a couple of years ago, but left two months into the course.

For me, the reasons for leaving were the workload, the total lack of support from SLT (they claimed to be very supportive, but in practice were not supportive at all) and the lack of training and direction I had.

I felt as if my course tutors and the SLT at the school felt that teaching would come naturally to everyone on the training course, and that they just needed to encourage it out of us a little. For example, a lot of the course tutors came through Teach First, where resilience is (rightly) prioritised. They often told me to build up my resilience (fair point, but how?), rather than giving me key actions to work on and improve on.

What can we do??

WellAlwaysHaveParis Mon 21-May-18 21:13:09


islaand Mon 21-May-18 21:16:55

I am just about to complete ITT in the next few weeks.
It's a tough course and honestly I think not everyone goes in realising just how much is expected of you. But they have to make you into a teacher in less than a year so it is intense and you often feel like you've been chucked in the deep end.

I've spent the best part of a year feeling pretty overwhelmed and stressed and many people just can't get used to that. I don't blame them but it is the reality.

The workload is intense and the only solution I see is for contact hours to be cut so teachers have more planning time. But that would cost money and there isn't any.

malificent7 Mon 21-May-18 21:17:12

I'm leaving too op...resilience will only be fostered if the government nurture schools...ain't gonna happen.

gingerbreadbiscuits Mon 21-May-18 21:18:06

I am on my 8th and last year of teaching. I think there needa systematic changes to the whole education system from Ofsted, to culling heads like football managers after a bad results, narrowing of the curriculum, wider cuts in the social provisions, lack of specialists places for students who need additional supports, CAHMS being over stretches and too many tests too young. The above thins need fixing before looking at the finer issues of teachers pay workload and responsibility.

TheFoodtheFadandtheFugly Mon 21-May-18 21:20:54

I have managed just over nine years and will be looking for the way out shortly. I don't feel I can do the job well in the current conditions in a way that is good to my long-term health. I'm following others out of the door - good luck to all of us.

CaptainHarville Mon 21-May-18 21:27:23

I'm in my 16th year and looking to get out. My school is in the process of being taken over by an academy chain. Its obvious that they don't care about staff welfare. Lots about doing things for the benefit of the children - no one cares about my children though and my having no time with them.

wonderstuff Mon 21-May-18 21:33:28

I’ve been teaching for quite a while. I’m worried, I’m particularly worried about category 3 & 4 schools in white working class areas. I spent most of my career in a council estate school and I loved it, but was forced out when results weren’t improving and I was a convenient scapegoat, the whole of SLT left soon after me. When it became an academy there were some positives, more training definitely, but the culture became very toxic, not at all supportive, everyone for themselves, defending their corner. Why would anyone want to work in that environment?

I’m back in an LEA school now in a ‘good’ school in a rich area. It’s so much nicer, my colleagues are supportive and I feel (mostly) we are working together to do the best for the kids rather than fighting for results. Of course the kids who most need stability in a nurturing environment are the kids who are least likely to get that under current systems.

sothisisspring Mon 21-May-18 21:36:06

I’m considering going back to teaching but I’m basically unemployable as I’ve only had one employer in last ten years and haven’t worked for 4 years after having kids. I’m not sure if it’s worth paying for childcare to get voluntary experience in a school again so I can get an up to date reference when I know I will probably have to go back full time, which I absolutely don’t want to do. It probably makes more financial sense just to try and get a basic part time admin job.

Chosenone Mon 21-May-18 21:38:16

So so much need a changing/reversing!
Academisation is an absolute scandal! Huge senior teams on whacking salaries (sometimes not even qualified teachers) whilst unqualifieds/underpaid teachers are the actual foot soldiers! The unions should get together and expose this.
Goves curriculum overhaul angry this rigourous and demanding curriculum does suit some students. But there are far too many who can't access It, this is leading to disengagement, poor behaviour, and mental health problems amongst the kids.
Culling off support staff! Ridiculous.
Pressure of exam results/SATs results/ofsted grading has lead to a highly pressurised culture and often bullying, staff morale at an all time low nationally.
All the fun stuff is going.
Kids are bored and disengaged. Staff are overworked and frazzled.
Can anyone bring any of the fun back for any of us! ?

ohhelpohnoitsa Mon 21-May-18 21:38:43

A friend maintains 'when I trained in 19xx, my starting salary was the same as a trainee doctor. The NQTs I now employ start on a salary equivalent to a nurse'. Maybe that is true, I dont know. If it is, I understand his point about loss of respect in society for the profession. The shortage will possibly worsen too. I know 3 parents who are training /have jobs in shortage subjects with the intention of teaching while their dcs are young for holidays, take the golden handshake money then return to their programming / running own small business set up consultancy / furthering academic career lecturing in 5 to 8 yrs time. Retention needs to be addressed probably with a decent pay rise for a few years, above the level of inflation.
Teachers I know are literally doing twice as much work as they did a few years ago - obviously not in number of lessons taught but in class size. Where 60 students in a GCSE subject used to be split in to 3 or even 4 groups, they are now split in to just 2 groups. Meaning the teacher has twice as many students in most exam classes, ditto marking load, parents evening appts, report writing, uni references etc etc. It's become so much harder in that respect and the reward has fallen as they cannot possibly get to know 30 kids sat in one class as well as they could 12 or 15. That said, I don't actually know anyone who has left for these reasons.

UrgentScurryfunge Mon 21-May-18 21:42:48

I came to the end of a contract and decided to take it as a natural break to focus more time on my family. The workload has risen substantially since 2010. Repeat marking and teaching to strict assessment data cycles was draining. The proportion of actual teaching time to assessment time is ludicrous.

So often, I'd be leaving work at 5:30 because the caretakers were locking up and the DCs needed collecting and I hadn't even started on planning or marking because I'd been too busy with meetings/ coursework catch up/ phone calls/ data input/ analysis and a variety of other admin. There were times where it felt like teaching was in the way of all the other stuff I had to do which is so, so wrong.

It's been a long time since I've encountered another teacher who would genuinely stay in teaching out of a totally open choice. Even part-time teachers want out because the workload is still a full time job's worth.

When I went in over a decade ago, I knew that there would be plenty to do out of school hours. After a few years when planning got more efficient, the workload was resonably managable. Behaviour has been quite consistent in that time but was often cited as a major concern of teachers then, however parents have become more vocal and demanding in that time and not always in a supportive way.

I'm not saying never again, but the micromanagement and data based culture has to go. Teachers are well educated and trained people with a diverse range of skills, but aren't respected as professionals in so many layers of society, and the value of breadth of learning for the joy of learning and personal enrichment has gone out of the window. It's all about the data.

wonderstuff Mon 21-May-18 21:46:18

When I started teaching in 2002 the government loaned me £20k to buy a house under key worker scheme. Today there’s a poster on the staff room wall advertising low rent shared accommodation.

It’s not really about the money, but a high pressure accountability culture coupled with reduced wages and pensions isn’t helping.

UrgentScurryfunge Mon 21-May-18 21:51:53

The accountability/ back covering is ridiculous. I found myself stapling into a class of books, a sheet detailing the off-timetable sessions that kept falling on my weekly lesson to justify why there was no work for 6 weeks. Otherwise I'd have been in trouble on the next book scruitiny/ learning walk/ OFSTED/ Mocksted or academy internal inspection.

BlessYourCottonSocks Mon 21-May-18 22:12:08

Workload is ridiculous. I've taught for many, many years and it is becoming increasingly unmanageable. Schools are now running as academies - and therefore as businesses.

But schools are not a business! We are taking huge increases in numbers, particularly at 6th form now. I have A level classes of 30! Schools cannot keep funding the shortfall in revenue by taking on more pupils for more money at the expense of their teaching staff's mental health and family life.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Mon 21-May-18 22:45:51

The thing is Bless, schools are businesses these days. That’s how they are run and that is the purpose of academy chains, where the executives take the money and the teachers at the chalkface struggle to keep body and soul together.

So- academies, Ofsted, workload, government interference, frequently changing curriculum and systems. These are all responsible for the shortage and inability to retain. No sensible pay structure any more and few opportunities to progress and achieve a higher salary, unless you climb the greasy pole before the age of 30.

blueflorals Mon 21-May-18 22:47:32

What was the problem with the white working class area?

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Mon 21-May-18 22:57:31

Is there anything that parents can actually do to improve things? I’ve asked this before on here and IRL and sadly never feel there is anything much. The only thing I can think of is to vote carefully in the next general election but I do not see the policital landscape changing and there doesn’t seem to be anything to do in the meantime sad.

noblegiraffe Mon 21-May-18 23:02:51

I’ve been doing this job over a decade and am seeing teachers falling like flies around me to stress, quitting teaching, and trainee teachers who really aren’t sure that they want to do the job.

I’m part time and can’t see me ever going back full time. This has shafted my career prospects as I’m not allowed to apply for promotions so at the top of the pay scale I’ll be getting yearly real terms pay cuts for the foreseeable future.

I’m a maths teacher. Apparently the country is desperate for good maths teachers, but not actually desperate enough to do anything to try to keep me in the job.

wonderstuff Mon 21-May-18 23:27:43

blueflorals the schools who get good progress 8 scores either have intake with strong KS2 results (generally middle class) or have an ethnically diverse intake with a high proportion of students with English as an addition language. Schools whose intake are poor kids born in the UK to native parents get poorer P8 results. Which means they often get poor OFSTED grade and this comes with high staff turnover. These schools are naturally data obsessed and very difficult to work in. Why would you actively seek that environment? In most of the country these schools will be mostly white but I’m sure there will be places where schools with high proportion of black British kids also fall in this category.

wonderstuff Mon 21-May-18 23:29:43

noblegiraffe I’m part time too. I’ve seen a few things saying increasing part time opportunities would help improve r+r recently. I’m sure it would help. Need someone brave to action it.

katycb Mon 21-May-18 23:34:07

I'm in my 13th year of primary school teaching and the only reason I am still in the classroom is because I went part time after I had my twins.

On 0.5 (which is still a 30hr week!) I can be a good mum and a good teacher. When I was very briefly full time I could do neither as well as I wanted to.

Like a pp has said, for now it has totally shaffted my career prospects but I trained straight from uni and am still fairly young to be on the upper pay scale so figure I still have plenty of time to make up for it later...will I...? Probs not!

soseducation Mon 21-May-18 23:36:03

Yes!!! You can help.
Academy chains are a serious serious problem and I believe a lot of the recruitment and retention crisis could be resolved by getting rid of them. Start asking serious questions about finances and go to Ofsted, mps and the press about your concerns. Teachers can't do this as it breaches confidentiality /brings schools into disreput, which means you can be fired easily. Yes whistleblowing policies exist but it is nit that easy. Parents can do this however.
My previous and current schools pay £500K and £250K per annum respectively to their academy trusts for 'support'. I use the term 'support' loosely as the 'support' is normally to tell them they need to pay more for more support.
This is money which could be spent on teachers and support staff. Which would reduce pressures on staff; in my dep't we will have lost 3.5 teachers over past teo years with none being replaced, leaving a remaining 2.5 to do the job we were all doing three years ago. This is obviously significant workload. Not to mention lack of books and resources. And this is a school in a reasonably affluent area.

TooStressyForMyOwnGood Mon 21-May-18 23:38:59

Thanks soseducation smile. Should have said I am a HCP so need to be a bit careful about being too political / going to the press etc but have no problem with asking questions. I regularly contact my MP grin but have not contacted Ofsted ever.

I despise academies too but there is not escape it seems sad.

Childrenofthesun Mon 21-May-18 23:47:41

There seems to be no interest in retaining good, experienced teachers. All the focus, and I suppose I understand it with the scandalous budget cuts, is on getting in the cheapest staff. I took a pay cut to increase my employability and have no chance in the foreseeable future of getting back to my previous salary. I agree that more part-time options could help retention but I work part-time in primary and all the schools I've worked at don't seem to really like it. We're treated a bit like second-class citizens.

I also agree about spending priorities in academies - so much money spent on SLT and meaningless things like logos and shiny books.

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