• Tools to help with the teacher recruitment and retention crisis

    Published: July 29 2019

    Excessive workload is one of the main reasons why teachers have considered leaving the teaching profession, which is a contributing factor to the ongoing teacher recruitment and retention crisis. In a 2017 Health survey carried out by charity, Education Support Partnership it was found that 75% of all education staff have faced physical or mental health issues in the last two years because of their work, and 53% have considered leaving as a result. Mental health of teachers has been in focus for some time with workload being considered as the top work-related reason. With pupil numbers rising and the need for new teachers this is an area of great concern.

    What is being done about it?

    Workload Reduction Toolkit

    Department for Education (DfE) has designed a workload reduction toolkit which was published in July 2018 with an update in March 2019 to support schools to tackle workload. In addition, an advice document is also available on ways to reduce workload in your school which supplements the toolkit. Helpful guidance and templates are available which can be tailored to your needs.

    The toolkit is split in 3 stages:

    • Stage 1 – Identifying the workload issues in your school(s) – this can be done via a workload survey, holding a workshop to discuss the survey findings which will then help you prioritise at what needs to be done.
    • Stage 2 – Addressing the issues in your school – once you have identified the issues you can now look at addressing them. Resources are available in the form of guidance to running workshops, template policies such as wellbeing, communication.
    • Stage 3 – Evaluating the impact of the changes of you have made.

    New research carried out by the DfE highlights that 46% of School Leaders are making use of the toolkit, hoping that it will go towards helping the teacher recruitment and retention crisis.

    Recruitment and Retention Strategy

    The long awaited Recruitment and Retention Strategy document was published by DfE in January 2019 to tackle the ongoing recruitment and retention crisis.

    The main areas of focus include:

    • Creating supportive school cultures that will look at tackling teacher workload.
    • For many NQTs, the quality of the support they have received throughout their first year has been variable and, for some, poor. The move to a two-year framework throughout which includes quality mentoring, CPD, and funded non-contact time will hopefully ensure a better support framework.
    • Looking at approaches to flexible working – such as different working patterns, job share which should promote a work life balance. In addition to this, new specialist qualifications for experienced teachers will be rolled out from the new academic year.
    • Simplifying the ways into teaching by introducing new digital systems.

    New Ofsted Inspection Framework

    The Framework will come into effect from September 2019. There is a lot of focus on ensuring learners are taught all subjects across the curriculum and that teachers, supported by school leaders, have the subject knowledge to teach and assess these effectively.

    Key changes include:

    • New ‘quality of education’ judgement
    • Looking at outcomes in context
    • Evidence such as internal performance data will no longer be scrutinised as evidence of progress during inspection
    • Separate Judgements – personal development and behaviour and attitudes
    • Extending on-site time for short inspections of good schools

    In relation to workload, with internal performance data no longer being used for inspection evidence, this will hopefully ensure inspection does not create unnecessary work for teachers. Conversations will not be focused just around data but around what is taught and how.

    What can your school do about it?

    • Get your SLT on board and think about your school culture. Is it supportive? Do you promote worklife balance or is there an expectation to work late every day?
    • Utilise the Workload Reduction Toolkit if you are not doing so already. This is a useful resource that provides structured support to identify the issues and create an action plan.
    • Consider if some teachers may benefit from flexible working. Can some roles be job shared? Or can some teachers work compressed hours?
    • Have ongoing and open communication with not only staff but also with parents and carers. If you are thinking of making any changes then ensure that they are consulted with and informed.

    Do you need further advice on how you can reduce workload in your school or managing change within your school? Or if you need help with running workshops and delivering training then contact the Kent HR team.

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