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Too much turnover talk too soon

Staff turnover may be good or bad for a school. Too little, and there is a dearth of new talent; too great, and the school loses its cadre of experienced teachers. So I am not clear what implication you draw when comparing the "turnover rate" of grant-maintained schools with that of local education authority schools (TES, May 17): they are within half a percentage point of each other.

What is important is whether staff can be replaced. And what you did not mention was that, while LEA schools recruited 0.9 staff for every vacancy, their GM counterparts took on 1.2 staff to replace each one who resigned.

Factors such as these could well have contributed to the Grant-Maintained Schools Foundation finding, in a survey of GM and LEA teachers conducted independently last year, that morale in GM schools has risen over the past two or three years and fallen in LEA schools.

Research International sampled 401 LEA and 400 GM school teachers in the spring term and found that 53 per cent of GM-school teachers agreed and 24 per cent disagreed with the statement: "Morale at your school has improved in the past 2-3 years". In LEA schools, 28 per cent agreed and 48 per cent disagreed.

ANDREW TURNER Director Grant-Maintained Schools Foundation 36 Great Smith Street London SW1

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