Four fail-safe ways to hang on to experienced classroom teachers
CPD for all
Too many schools still see CPD as something for new teachers or those seeking promotion. Given that teaching is a lifelong learning curve, it’s important that all staff get access to quality CPD. Learning new skills and finding ways to improve the skills you have can only build morale and confidence, as well as improve your teaching.
Don’t be ageist
In these days of budget cuts and performance-related pay there are plenty of headteachers who see experienced staff who choose not to move into leadership roles as undesirable. Whether it’s automatically choosing less experienced staff to mentor NQTs or replacing all outgoing staff with newly or recently qualified teachers, it can be all too easy to send out the message that youth is the most desirable quality in teaching staff.
Whether it’s fear of Ofsted or panic about teacher accountability, some school leadership teams find it nigh on impossible to keep their staff on anything but the tightest of reins. For a very small minority of teachers, this kind of direction might be reassuring, but too much interference from on high is unlikely to play to the strengths of all. Experienced staff who don’t feel trusted to make decisions are unlikely to perform at their best.
Make sure you value the classroom practitioner
Getting the best and brightest in the profession to progress up the ladder to leadership is important, but it’s equally important to keep some exactly where they are. While teaching ability is not something that comes with age, this is still a job in which experience helps. To fill your classrooms with newly qualified staff just because they’re young and/or cheap might just prove to be a mistake.
Jo Brighouse is a pseudonym. She is a primary school teacher in the Midlands
This is an edited article from the 8 July edition of TES. This week's TES magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here