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Red flags- unhappy teachers

(15 Posts)
dyslexicdespot Tue 12-Jan-16 14:21:45

I'm in the process of choosing a primary school for DS. One of my main criteria is that he go to a school where the teachers are generally happy.

Would you mind telling me what some of the 'red flags' are that would signal to a parent visitor, an unsupportive head teacher and/or a stressful work environment?

Thanks in advance,

DitheringDiva Tue 12-Jan-16 15:49:59

All the staff are young. High staff turnover. Lots of teachers off sick. Lots of supply teachers.

hollieberrie Tue 12-Jan-16 18:14:40

Yes Diva is spot on - high staff turnover is key and lots of NQTS - suggest the school cares more about saving money on salaries than experience. Also i think seeing how happy and positive the office and support staff are is key too. Obvs they are very busy but do they seem happy to be there (ie do they feel valued), are they seen as key members of the team etc. IME a big teacher / support staff divide is never good.

dyslexicdespot Tue 12-Jan-16 18:59:18

Great advice, thank you!

irvine101 Tue 12-Jan-16 19:00:53

I can really feel that now, I'm just a parent, and ds goes to school Ofsted report says outstanding management and leadership. But the truth is, lots of experienced teachers are leaving and filled with NQTs. And teacher leaving mid term as well.
I am really concerned as a parent.

seven201 Wed 13-Jan-16 19:00:55

Ask one of the teachers, not the leadership about staff turnover. You'll get a more honest answer in my opinion. Also what options they currently get at GCSE. Our school are only offering 1 option this year - I would not want that for a child of mine.

BoneyBackJefferson Wed 13-Jan-16 22:46:40

Look at the range of time that the teachers have worked there. (IMO) there should be teachers that have been there a while to teachers that move on after 2 -3 years.

kjwh Thu 14-Jan-16 08:28:34

Some schools put brief profiles of their teachers on their websites. It was one of the things we looked for when choosing our DS's school. Some profiles were more detailed than others, but the school we chose showed a good mix of teacher ages, length of service at the school, previous jobs and outside interests. Some teachers had been there 20+ years and others were newly qualified, a few were ex-pupils of the school itself and had returned to teach there, sometimes straight away, other times after working elsewhere. At the open day, we saw the same, an excellent mix of male/female teachers, young and old.

Finola1step Thu 14-Jan-16 08:43:52

Definitely look for a good mix of teachers wrt experience. I would try to find out about the mix of part time and full time teachers.

In my dc's school, there are a few teachers who work part time. Last year, my ds had the 2 most experienced teachers who both work 3 days a week, as a job share. It was fabulous having that wealth of experience and he came on in leaps and bounds. This year my dd's teacher works 4 days as she has recently returned from maternity leave. The 5th day is covered by the same teacher each week who is a member of staff.

I know that job sharing class teachers are not always popular with parents. But IMO, a few part time teachers is a good thing. It shows that the staff are valued and that there is a realistic understanding of work/life balance for some teachers. It wouldn't work if all were part time but it does suggest that the school leadership are aware of staff wellbeing. This in turn must help to create a happier workplace for staff.

dyslexicdespot Thu 14-Jan-16 13:18:31

Thank you for all the useful advice.

We have finalised DS application. We have chosen a 'good' school over an 'outstanding' one. The teachers in the outstanding school seemed to fear the headteacher. We never had a chance to speak with any of the (very young) teachers alone.

The good school felt warm and welcoming and everyone we spoke with, from dinner lady to teachers only had positive things to say.

Thanks again,

Finola1step Thu 14-Jan-16 13:36:27

You have probably made a very wise choice. Good luck.

leccybill Thu 14-Jan-16 13:40:16

I'd go for a Good school every time. In a so-called Outstanding school, the teachers will be absolutely worked to death.
I teach in very many primary schools and this is what I've noticed.

Terrifiedandregretful Thu 14-Jan-16 15:16:38

Definitely agree that a 'Good' school beats an 'outstanding' one. I'm secondary and find the same thing as leccybill. I hope you get your first choice.

clam Fri 15-Jan-16 18:05:01

The Outstanding primary in the next village along to us had 8 teachers out of 15 leave at the end of the year recently. Some of them now teach in our 'Good' school - they say it's infinitely preferable.

TheJiminyConjecture Fri 15-Jan-16 18:09:29

I think it depends on how long ago the grades were achieved. Some outstanding schools are very complacent and some good schools are busy jumping on every bandwagon in the quest for outstanding. You can only judge on what you see, Ofsted is a snapshot and not always an accurate one.

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