Teach First: Improve leadership development to boost teacher retention

15th March 2018 at 00:03
Half of classroom teachers want to take on a senior role but many get few opportunities to develop the skills they need, according to the teacher trainer

Investing in leadership training could help schools to improve teacher retention, Teach First has said.

According to a survey by the teacher trainer, half of classroom teachers want to step into a senior role, but many only spend a few hours each year developing the skills they need.

And nine out of 10 teachers said better development opportunities could increase their likelihood of staying at their school.

In a ComRes poll of 800 teachers commissioned by Teach First, 49 per cent of classroom teachers said they would be interested in taking up a leadership position in the future. Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of middle leaders said they would be interested in taking on a more senior position.

Nearly nine out of 10 (88 per cent) of teachers said that their school offering excellent leadership development opportunities would have at least some impact on their likelihood of remaining at the school, with 34 per cent of teachers saying it would have a “great impact”.

However, the survey also shows that opportunities to develop and step up to senior roles do not match demand. More than half of teachers (54 per cent) said they spent no more than a few hours developing their leadership skills last year.

This included 40 per cent of teachers who said they spent no time at all from their usual work developing these skills.

'Keeping great teachers in the profession'

The news comes as Teach First launches a new initiative, "Leading Together", which aims to support schools to improve the quality of their leadership.

The programme, which will initially be funded by the Department for Education’s Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund, will put schools in partnership with an experienced senior school leader, and gives them access to training, coaching and networking support.

Russell Hobby, Teach First’s chief executive (pictured), said: “It is worrying that teachers are telling us they want to stay and progress in their school, but they lack the support they need to do so. We often talk of teacher recruitment challenges, but it’s time to get serious about keeping great teachers in the profession.”

Nick Gibb, the schools minister, said: “Last week the education secretary [Damian Hinds] announced a strategy to drive recruitment and boost retention of teachers, working with the unions and professional bodies, and we’ve been consulting on how to improve development opportunities for teachers, whether they decide to move into a leadership role or want to continue teaching in the classroom.

“This programme from Teach First is one of thousands of new training opportunities that we have created through our £75 million Teaching and Leadership Innovation Fund, supporting schools in the areas of greatest need to help nurture the leaders of tomorrow.”

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