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Teacher Turnover/Teachers Leaving - How to really tell if your child goes to a good/outstanding school?

(12 Posts)
BurningMathsTeacher Thu 25-Jun-20 09:43:31

Then there is the bad and the really bad. A school and its leadership should be judged on what happens there. Children are extremely volatile and unpredictable so you cannot prepare for every single possible action. They also have limited influence beyond the school gates. When the unpleasant arises from or is inflicted upon a child, the school's response in the vital measure. Find out. Talk to your child! Within reason, schools that aim to cover up the ongoings beyond the protection of the children involved clearly do not stand by their actions.

OP’s posts: |
BurningMathsTeacher Thu 25-Jun-20 09:46:16

GCSE results, Progress 8, Ofsted reports and Progress 8. When deciding on a new school for your child, you may consider the above in high contention, but all can be handled by the school in a way that gives your child the short end of the stick. Teaching for 10 years now across 4 different schools, both state and independent and visiting several along the way. You'd be surprised how insightful teacher turnover really is. Many good teachers get into education with a drive to better education and improve prospects for young learners and unfortunately leave for the same reason. Yes, changing lifestyles will play a part along with promotion opportunities, but not to the degree that many will simply object to the quality and direction of the school's structure by resigning or moving on. The knock-on effects for learners is significant. Particularly reestablishing relationships and trust is like hitting a destabilising reset button, again and again, one that erodes growth. Yes, some are not cut out for teaching, but this has always been the vast minority. And others are taken down in early experience on the road to what could have been excellent practitioners. Look closely and you will see a more honest picture.

OP’s posts: |
BurningMathsTeacher Thu 25-Jun-20 09:56:52

My own SD has experienced the constant cycle of building trust, establishing relationships, setting boundaries and adjusting to teaching styles up to 3 times a year in one subject. Not to mention the entire term of substitute teachers because the post was empty. These meaningful features all take time to establish, and all before getting down and doing some real work. I wonder how much further along they could be with a little consistency?

Sorry if this reads negative/strange, the first paragraph posted should be the last! (word limits and all that)

OP’s posts: |
Frozenveggista Thu 25-Jun-20 18:31:55

Absolutely agree. We are on the waiting list to transfer DC from a school we are unhappy with. Teacher turnover is massive- it’s a Harris Academy. One subject has had three teachers since September before lockdown. They don’t seem to be pushing him at all either. And lots of other issues that I won’t go into here. But making that new relationship over and over again proves a school isn’t good enough to keep good staff and doesn’t care enough to change.

Frozenveggista Thu 25-Jun-20 18:34:26

Also I will absolutely never have faith in an Ofstead report ever again. Absolute nonsense.

Xiaoxiong Sat 27-Jun-20 10:05:53

I can't agree more re: turnover. When we looked at schools for DS1 (and now DS2 will join him in Sept) our number one criteria was teacher turnover as a proxy for how happy the teachers are (DH is a teacher!) The school we chose had had only 2 teachers leave in the last 3 years, one promotion, one retirement, and a good spread of age and experience among the teaching staff.

Teaching, like any other job, is "sticky" - when you arrange your life to work somewhere there has to be a pretty significant reason to move (with all the attendant faff of interviews, potentially letting your current school know you're looking elsewhere and need a reference, etc). There is always attrition through retirement, relocation and promotion but generally, teachers don't move around for the hell of it and unlike other jobs it's seldom to increase their salary, since many schools benchmark against each other and give lockstep increments whether you stay put or move.

If there's a high turnover, you know there's something going on at that school that means the teachers are unhappy enough there to be looking to get out.

SnuggyBuggy Sat 27-Jun-20 10:16:51

From my own experience I'd be concerned about a secondary school that has no detention system but expects each teacher to arrange their own detentions with nothing to actually enforce it if the student won't turn up. It meant that detentions for misbehaviour didn't happen, either the teachers didn't want to give up their time for the worst students (not unreasonable to be fair) or didn't see how they could enforce it and didn't want accusations of not being able to control the class from their management.

I think you can be the best teacher but if you aren't backed up by management and you get a class with difficult students there's not much you can do.

OP do you think that's something to look at when choosing a school?

flourandeggs Sat 27-Jun-20 11:42:26

Really interesting post. Our local primary school has very good teacher retention but has lost lots of families recently as the head is unpopular. This has turned it over 2 years from a 7 year school to a 5 year school with mixed age classes. So on paper it is a school doing well, hoping to move from good to outstanding in next ofsted. However parents are pulling children out because the head has an awful way with parents (I do get that this is hard and parents can be a pain, however it does matter that relationships are at least cordial. A recent example is head being rude to a key worker parent who asked for a place for her children - she is NHS and in charge of an intensive care ward. Head huffed and puffed at her and said "why does everyone think they should be a keyworker?" Under the old head the school was scruffier and I am sure the teachers weren't managed as well, but it was a happy place. The quest for outstanding status has lost it the support of the community, meant there is much less sports and no creative clubs and families are voting with their feet.

googledontknow Sat 27-Jun-20 18:50:24

I agree about teacher turnover being a very good indicator of the quality of teaching your child will receive.

So many lovely experienced teachers leaving teaching or going part time and being replaced with (cheap) inexperienced teachers, not even in the right specialism.

I think this is a big problem in terms of safeguarding too, how can children build up trusting relationships (so they can report issues to them) with teacher if they disappear every sept/term.

Mostpeculiar Sun 28-Jun-20 08:16:04

I’m confused I worked in an outstanding primary as a ta it was packed to the rafters with middle aged teachers that never left and the inspection was near 10 years old. As soon as Ofsted came in they went to needs improvement or whatever it’s called. I thought that would caused by the lack of new blood

BurningMathsTeacher Sun 28-Jun-20 10:32:17


I’m confused I worked in an outstanding primary as a ta it was packed to the rafters with middle aged teachers that never left and the inspection was near 10 years old. As soon as Ofsted came in they went to needs improvement or whatever it’s called. I thought that would caused by the lack of new blood

Age of staff is not an indicator. Some experienced staff/schools will know what to show on the day. This is probably the most toxic ultra short term response. There are low-quality teachers out there, but I like to think that they are in the vast minority. Stronger staff will drive their own development and seek to challenge and improve their skill set. Strong leaders will inspire, support and motivate this development in their teaching body.

OP’s posts: |
hellotoday27 Sun 28-Jun-20 15:29:37

I would say in a big secondary school (1500 pupils) a turnover of 10 staff per year is normal and not a worry. You need a good mix of experienced staff and new blood coming in each year to get a good balance in a school. Just experienced staff not moving can also be a sign of the school not progressing. Really good schools train their teachers well and they tend to have to move to get promotions as sometimes they're just aren't enough opportunities in the school at present.
You also tend to get a bigger turnover for a year or 2 when a new head comes in. That's ok unless its still happening 2 to 3 years after they arrived in which case I would steer clear of the school.

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