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AIBU to think this level of staff turnover is high?

(31 Posts)
MerryMarigold Fri 14-Jul-17 18:12:52

2 classes per year. 7 years ie. 14 teachers.

Last year 7 teachers left (one was not classroom based)
This year at least 4 (that I know of)

Is this normal for a school of that size?

This is a supposedly outstanding school. I've had my doubts for a while about how outstanding it really is (not at all, in my opinion). My daughter has had 5 teachers in 2 years. This year Y3 had 2 NQTs ie. no-one who had taught Y3 before. Next year one of the Y3 teachers (ie. just finished her NQT year) is moving to Y4 (she is very good) and working with an NQT. I would have thought they would need at least one more experienced teacher in each year.

The Head seems to be ridiculously biased in favour of young NQTs (no mature NQTs, oh no).

So anyway, is this on? Who would you complain to? I think the Head is pretty dire and I imagine the high staff turnover is his fault as well as the management of year groups.

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SugarMiceInTheRain Fri 14-Jul-17 18:18:58

Sounds very high to me. I worked in an international school for a bit where on average a third of the staff left each year, which was considered very high, though that was due to most people being on 2 year contracts. Though people are leaving teaching in droves nowadays so it wouldn't surprise me to hear that some schools have up to half their teaching staff leaving. DC2's primary school (similar size to yours) only has 1 teacher leaving this year, and he's a part time teacher who joined just to cover PPA time from what I gather. Seems to be very much the norm to want to recruit NQTs sadly, as they are cheaper and school budgets have been slashed to the bone sad

Doomhutch Fri 14-Jul-17 18:48:22

The preference for young NQTs also suggests they want people who don't know the grass is greener somewhere else.

MerryMarigold Fri 14-Jul-17 18:49:32

I don't mind recruiting NQTs, even majority, but just not solely NQTs when you have experienced staff leaving. And perhaps more mature NQTs too - I know quite a few people going into teaching, who have often been parents/ TA's for a long time. They are out there too, and an outstanding school should have their pick. The Head just doesn't seem to want them.

I think there is one teacher in the school over 35 now shock apart from the HT and Deputy. A good chunk under 25.

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islandsandshores Fri 14-Jul-17 18:50:33

Young NQTs can be excellent.

MerryMarigold Fri 14-Jul-17 18:51:18

Yes, Doomhutch, but they aren't stupid. And then they move on.

Is this a Governor matter? Or do I just put up and shut up?

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MerryMarigold Fri 14-Jul-17 18:52:25

Island, I am not saying they are not, but when you are recruiting 7 teachers and they are ALL young NQT's it seems a bit hmm. I think he feels more able to manipulate them.

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islandsandshores Fri 14-Jul-17 18:53:44

Merry, you just don't know. They really, really may have been the best choice. I have worked with 23 year olds who put people with thirty years' experience to shame.

Doomhutch Fri 14-Jul-17 18:56:52

Yes, Doomhutch, but they aren't stupid. And then they move on.

Exactly! We were warned about schools where all the staff are very young - not because they're inexperienced, but because it suggests high turnover and people not staying on.

PotteringAlong Fri 14-Jul-17 19:00:20

Young nqt's are also cheap. Why employ me (for example) with my 15 years experience but top of the pay scale when you can get someone a whole lot cheaper? Schools need to balance the books - get rid of your experienced and expensive staff is an easy way to do it:

HashtagPenelope82 Fri 14-Jul-17 19:21:19

Generally with age and experience, comes perspective over what is important in life, and often caring responsibilities, whether parents, children or other family members. I don't know your school but this could be the crux of the matter. Young staff (30 somethings) are more likely to do 11 hour days in school, take work home, and not complain.

HashtagPenelope82 Fri 14-Jul-17 19:22:21

*20 somethings! (Not that 30 somethings are old!)

Neolara Fri 14-Jul-17 20:02:42

NQTs are cheap. I suspect that may be the driving force behind all new staff being NQTs. Is the head new? High turnover can be normal in these circumstances. Also, sometimes staff leaving can be a good thing if they aren't very good. Alternatively, high turnover could be a sign of things not going well.

Lowdoorinthewal1 Fri 14-Jul-17 20:28:51

Obviously 7 teachers out of 14 is high. 4 is fairly normal but then call that 11 in 2 years and yes, I would say the school has a retention problem.

My 2 form entry school has lost 4 teachers in 3 years- I would say that is very low though. They have all been replaced with NQTs.

GutterStar Fri 14-Jul-17 20:57:28

Is it possible they're taking on NQTs on one-year contracts, then replacing them with another set of NQTs on one-year contracts? That would keep costs down!

MerryMarigold Sat 15-Jul-17 04:59:26

Don't think they are on 1 yr contracts as they usually stay a few years before moving on. No Senco either. Deputy head is Senco.

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PotteringAlong Sat 15-Jul-17 08:12:42

So they do have a senco...

TheForgetfulCat Sat 15-Jul-17 08:24:46

School I'm a governor at has 10 classes plus Head and Deputy. We lost and replaced Head and Deputy three years ago - since then we've had one teacher leave and one going on maternity. We are probably at the other end of the spectrum! For me, having an experienced, stable and committed staff is a huge strength of the school. We have employed NQTs regularly but have always been able to do so in the context of an experienced and supportive team around them. Agree with other posters that NQTs per se can be amazing!

NQTs are cheap which is why Heads have a preference for them. I'd be less worried that he is employing NQTs and more that neither the experienced staff or the NQTs are staying around for long.

You could write to the Chair of Governors and raise a concern?

MerryMarigold Sat 15-Jul-17 12:42:23

Ok, they have a Senco who also has an important job. My son missed out on extra time in SATs because it was not applied for properly. I think the teacher did it and didn't really know. Many of my friends and my sister are teachers. I just think schools can manage to have experienced staff, SENCOs and still stay in budget. Why can't our school?

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TheForgetfulCat Sat 15-Jul-17 14:26:04

Our similar-sized school has a Deputy Head who does 0.6 non teaching/0.4 teaching time, and a 0.6 non teaching SENCO. So if your Deputy Head is full time non teaching the total amount of time for both roles would be similar.

cantkeepawayforever Sat 15-Jul-17 15:32:07

There are various reasons for this.

One might be budget - are you in a historically low-funded county? Was the school running a deficit or near-deficit budget? In the current economic climate, replacing 7 teachers who were UPS1 or 2 with NQTs can make the difference between being financially afloat or financially scuppered. You may be able to raise a question about the financial health of the school with the Governors.

Another, particularly if the head was new 2 years ago, is turnover following the arrival of a new head. This is a known phenomenon, especially in schools which have become complacent or if the head wishes to make significant changes in the way 'things have always been done'. Is it this head's first headship? Change can be managed well, or exceptionally poorly, and an inexperienced head may manage it badly.

It is entirely possible that a school may be made stronger - financially and academically - through a period of high staff turnover resulting in a 'new' but stable team. Unless you are very worried for next year, I would suggest that another year might be very revealing. A typical rate of 3ish teachers moving on per year is OK, in which context the 7 is a single blip. If the rate continues to be 4-5 - over and above the maternity changes that are likely with that staff profile - then it is clearly not a great place to be.

MerryMarigold Sat 15-Jul-17 18:44:11

Thanks. Why are some counties more poorly funded? I know London gets more. We're in Essex.

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cantkeepawayforever Sat 15-Jul-17 19:01:09

This is an outdated, but still accurate in terms of order, list of the LAs and funding per pupil.

It is based on [very] historic patterns of deprivation on the one hand and high costs on the other. Urban areas tend to do better than largely rural areas.

It does bring about some slightly daft things, though. It's not clear to me why a school in Coventry should get £7-800 per pupil more than a similar school in Leamington.

I can understand inner london, outer london / inner other large cities, then other areas as broad categories with identical funding. However the differences between e.g. Herefordshire and Cambridgeshire, with the latter getting much less, can't necessarily be defended.

MaisyPops Sat 15-Jul-17 19:07:34

It depends why people are moving on. If they're moving on for promotions or to move into a related area then it's not so worrying. If they are jumping ship because it's a bad environment then it's an issue.

If the school are replacing with NQT because of money then it's not ideal, but if they are the sort of school that can pick the best NQTs then it's fine.
If the school culture is so bad they need NQTs because no experienced staff will put up with their insane demands, then it's a massive problem.

MerryMarigold Sun 16-Jul-17 09:25:39

No idea why people moving on. 'To spend time with family' could be 'I've had so much I can take kids this Head that I'm not even willing to go offset time'. 'To travel' could be 'I was planning it one day bit that man had pushed me to do it sooner rather than later.'

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