Departing teachers 'can put off new recruits'

MAT leaders warn that teachers' bad experiences are fuelling the recruitment crisis

John Roberts

Departing teachers' bad experiences can put off new recruits, a trust leader has warned

Departing teachers can put off new recruits if they have left because of bad experiences in school, a multi-academy trust leader has warned.

Jonny Uttley said that the retention crisis was having a knock-on effect on recruitment because teachers would talk about why they have quit the job.

He was speaking at the Hallam Festival of Education today in a session on schools as good places to work. 

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He said: “Too many schools are not great places to work and because of that it is causing a crisis for the system.

“We do not have a recruitment and retention crisis.  We have a retention crisis. And it is the retention crisis that causes the recruitment crisis and its dead simple: because teachers talk.

“When teachers are having bad experiences they tell other people. And when you come out of the profession you tell people why and that’s why there are not enough people going in and it’s a massive problem."

He also warned that the system is losing teachers when they are reaching a high point in terms of their efficacy in years three, four and five of their career.

“It's not just a numbers issue, it's an effectiveness issue. Our most effective teachers are leaving at the point which they become most effective."

He revealed that his trust, the Education Alliance, which runs a group of schools in East Yorkshire and the Humber region, had developed a workload charter to support teachers.

He said this had removed work from teachers which “was not making any difference” to pupils. 

On ensuring schools are good places to work Mr Uttley added that schools need to develop a culture where teachers do not have anxiety but do have autonomy.

And he urged the education sector to drop "the use of macho language."

He said: “I think we should ban words like rigorous, robust, unflinching. I apologised for the fact that we wrote a letter which said I work tirelessly because I don’t work tirelessly I am knackered most of the time.”

He also called for performance-related pay to be abolished “because it moves us away from what motivates teachers."

Mr Uttley is the latest school leader to speak out against performance-related pay. 

Jane Millward, the incoming chief executive of E-Act told Tes last month that she wanted to scrap it.

She said: “If we want to have openness and honesty and transparency, and have teachers who really want to improve, then we need to take pay away from that discussion.”

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