Unspoken difficulties with teacher retention and how HR EdTech can help

Teacher recruitment and retention is a modern and ever-present pedagogical issue. As class sizes keep expanding, schools must find new ways to attract and keep their skilled teaching staff under new academy structures without breaking the bank.

Martin Holyoak

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Recruitment drives are one potential solution, but the fact is, there just aren’t enough teachers out there to fix the issue – so holding on to the ones you’ve got is crucial.

When looking for potential solutions to teacher retention, it’s important to understand the underlying causes behind the issue and how to monitor them so you can take proactive measures.

Occupational Stress

Stress is a well-known occupational health risk for teachers. In fact, The Education Support Partnership’s Teacher Wellbeing Index 2018 found that 64% of teachers feel stressed.

Some stress is fine – studies have even found that small amounts of occupational stress can be useful – but endless stress is unhealthy and leads tens of thousands of teachers to leave the profession every year from total burnout.

However, despite this, many believe that the risk of becoming overstressed is the sword of Damocles of teaching – that it’s always there, and it’s the price to pay for adopting the profession.

Education-focused HR software cannot eliminate the daily stress of the job, but it can help to build a picture of your staff and their wellbeing and remove the sword before it falls.

Relentless Focus

Staff retention difficulties aren’t caused by teachers becoming disinterested in teaching. For the most part, teachers have a relentless focus on their work – so much so that 74% of education professionals find that an inability to switch off and relax is a major contributing factor to a negative work-life balance (Teacher Wellbeing Index 2018).

This highlights a closely related issue: superficial improvements to working conditions such as pay increases, while obviously an excellent incentive, are not the ultimate solution to staff retention. Teachers are already maximally engaged with their work; instead, many staff are looking for career progression and CPD.

The ability to identify skills that are lacking across your school or trust could have huge benefits for retention. With PS People, you can log continuous development notes and CPD to identify people who require training or need further development, enabling you to provide professional support to the people who need it most.

Enormous Pressure

Anxiety, stress, workplace bullying and loss of classroom control are all issues that can be addressed, but only if the root causes are identified first. If not, these people have no choice but to look for other options or face problems elsewhere in their lives, despite the fact they don’t want to quit.

The reality is, when teachers’ health is in serious jeopardy, they don’t want to take time off work. 40% of senior leaders and teachers believe that having time off work due to mental health symptoms will have a negative impact on their students’ studies (Teacher Wellbeing Index 2018).

Eventually, these teaching staff will burn out.

HR software such as PS People can highlight where part-time or shared working hours could benefit certain staff. If these are offered proactively, staff are more likely to accept them without the associated stigma.

Perceived Lack of Support

74% of education professionals believe they don’t have access to enough guidance about mental health and wellbeing at work (Teacher Wellbeing Index 2018). In such a demanding profession, this is surprising; you wouldn’t expect to find this figure in the police force, for example, and yet both jobs necessitate a high level of professional responsibility for others.

PS People’s oversight provides schools with clear oversight of their staff’s sickness and overall health, enabling them to put new HR policies in place. For example, you could provide training to specific SMT staff and line managers to make them aware of mental health issues and improve their management technique. In the long run, they can provide confidential support for the staff that need it the most, protecting your most valuable resource.

Nowadays, HR EdTech is becoming a tool you can’t afford not to adopt, as teachers are leaving at a record pace. If you’d like to see how PS People could help your HR team to support and retain teaching staff, visit our website or contact us about a one-to-one demonstration.

Education, PS People