You gotta get out of this place?

Governors have oversight of the staff in their school. If you start to see a high staff turnover and the loss of experienced teachers what can you do?

Experienced staff are the engine room of every school and the more high quality staff you have at every level the higher quality education children receive.

What can governors do if they see school loosing the very staff they are trying to attract and retain?

Its perfectly normal to have staff (and I use staff to include all staff within school not just teachers) at all stages of their careers throughout school. This shows that there are people joining school, progressing and then leaving to promotion.

Its also usual to find some people who don’t want to be promoted and are content in being great at their role. They aren’t people to be “moved on” they can be the fixed solid points in a well-rounded staff. Experience has a value.

What can be causing a higher staff turnover?

Look National; If the national picture for staff retention is in the headlines and a high priority this may be a factor. As a governor you still need to understand why people are leaving in line with the national pattern to try and differentiate your school and retain staff.

Look Regional; Are there factors specific to your region? Is the standard of living afforded by teachers pay lower than other regions for the same level of responsibility? Does your school budget support the possibility to offer a higher starting salary? Could you look to retention payments for significant staff?

Look local: Is your school staff turnover higher than other schools locally? Are you running a school with a high number of supply teachers? If this is the case you need to quickly investigate, Burning through high numbers of competent staff can be a sign all is not well.

 What can governors do?

Governors can conduct exit interviews with staff. A couple of governors having a confidential chat for 15-20 minutes with leaving staff can be very enlightening. The information may not immediately lead to action but if staff independently repeat the same themes there may be more worth looking into.

Governors can become more actively involved in recruitment. In maintained schools governors delegate authority to the head teacher to recruit so there is no reason why they cannot play an active role f they choose. In a multi-academy trust a responsible board cannot complain if a diligent LGB bring potential issues to their attention and then offer support to resolve them.

At the moment my experience tells me that there are three common reasons for high turnover;

  1. Staff workload and Wellbeing
  2. Poor recruitment by school leaders
  3. School senior leadership behaviour

Governors can influence all these areas.

Given that most governors see numerous head teachers come and go in their time the long term implications of poor staff recruitment can haunt you after that head teacher is gone. We must be vigilant and value staff.

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