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Sunday, 20 September 2015 15:26

Why are so many teachers leaving the profession?

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Too many young teachers are being lost to the profession through a lack of support in the classroom, chief schools inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw has said. Sir Michael, giving evidence to the Commons select committee on education, said he had been upset by the number of talented teachers who complained about the lack of support available to them at the start of their careers.

What used to upset me was talking to people who were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, hugely enthusiastic  about coming into teaching, wanting to do well for disadvantaged youngsters, saying to me that they were put off teaching in the first few years because they weren’t adequately supported by leaders”.

This statement coincided with an article I had been asked to write for Kent On Sunday, on why so many teachers were leaving the profession, which was published on Sunday. My article is illustrated by a number of recent examples of schools affected, drawn from Kent and Medway, although I have provided another below which I believe dwarfs these examples but may of course not be unique.....

One Kent primary academy with 22 teachers is employing 6 newly qualified teachers (NQTs), two of whom were engaged over the summer holidays, together with three NQT plus one years, one of whom was removed from classes last year because of problems with teaching standards in the first year. Of the three teachers with two years’ qualified teaching experience, one is the English co-ordinator the other has seen extremely rapid promotion to Assistant Headteacher, whose responsibilities include being Assessment Manager and Phase Leader for Years 5 and 6. Three years’ experience is sufficient to qualify another teacher to become NQT mentor, promoted from English co-ordinator. Another new teacher appointed over the summer holidays has experience. The second Assistant Headteacher is on long term sick leave. There are also two instructors. It also provides cover with student teachers teaching lessons for absent staff. Two NQTS left in July 2015, because of lack of support, with seven other teachers leaving recently mostly, if not all, for similar reasons.

Read 2469 times Last modified on Monday, 20 February 2017 23:13

6 comments

  • Comment Link Friday, 25 September 2015 23:55 posted by Victoria

    It's not hard to guess which school this is. From reading that description, it doesn't take a genius to realise there are HUGE problems in management. Why is nobody doing anything to help the poor members of staff who teach there and of course the poor innocent children who attend the school? It must be an awful place to be.

  • Comment Link Friday, 25 September 2015 21:51 posted by Sheila

    Bullying of staff is rife. cheating at SATs appears to go unpunished. A formal staff grievance along with staff representations to the Academy Trust are dismissed. Staff are looking to leave. We are told KCC is powerless. The Academy Trust is backing the school come what may. Is no one listening? To whom do we turn? Please help us. PETER: You have my sympathy.The Regional Schools Commissioner has authority to intervene in extreme cases, and this is surely one of those. This is what the teacher unions surely exist for. What do they think? But it ought to be the Academy Trust taking action with the plethora of evidence around this case. It is beyond belief that the Trust does not know what is happening, so the big question is, why on earth it is allowed to continue? There must be a reason however bizarre.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 24 September 2015 20:29 posted by Alice P

    An Executive Head Teacher of a Primary School is removed because of serious allegations and grievances made against her by members of staff and because of an ongoing investigation by the STA into the KS2 Sats which have been withheld (a really serious state of affairs for a school).
    The same head teacher is allowed to continue at the neighbouring school where the Sats results have also been withheld due to concerns over “maladministration”; a school where staff morale is at an all-time low. A school where there would be grievances due to bullying, intimidation and unprofessional conduct by the Senior Leadership Team only the staff have no faith in the system as previous grievances were brushed under the carpet by the Governors (who happen to include the Head of their Academy). How can it be that a head teacher is unfit to lead one school yet is allowed to remain in post at a school a few yards down the road? Could it be that the school from which she was removed is controlled by the LA yet the other school is part of an Academy? The Head of the Academy has been approached by several current and former members of staff so can’t argue he is unaware of what is and has been going on.
    Whatever the reason, if the Academy does nothing the staff will either leave or be so demoralised or intimidated that the school will cease to function. The Academy has a duty of care to both the staff and the children and needs to take action now.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 24 September 2015 09:11 posted by Angela

    It baffles me that schools are not monitored, managed and run like any other business. Yes they differ in the service they provide, but the principles of leadership, support and training remain the same. If the person at the top [headteacher] is not equipped to undertake the role; such as supporting staff, managing, being a mentor/role model to new staff, encouraging better work ethics and morals, then their role should be reviewed and investigated by the governing bodies. If a huge volume of staff of varying years of service are leaving so swiftly, for similar reasons, alarms bells should be ringing. In the corporate world, an under-performing boss/CEO would be ousted by its share holders, stake holders or line managers. Why is this not an option when it comes to the quality of headteachers? Isn't that what OFSTED, Unions and governing bodies are in place for, to support staff in ensuring their work life and the professionalism and quality teaching of a school is paramount? The quality of education around the nation is suffering at the hands of incompetent head teachers and weak governing bodies. The quality teaching staff who are passionate about education, whose best interests are for the children in their care, are being undermined and leaving the profession because of this. Isn't it about time the pen pushers looked closely, delved a little deeper and stood in the shoes of those who stand day in, day out in the classroom, doing their best whilst being bullied by their piers? Act now before it's too late. PETER: In principle this is what happens. In the example above, the Governing Body of an Academy has responsibility but not accountability, and where this breaks down it is very difficult for the shareholders - i.e. the parents to secure a just solution.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 22 September 2015 06:47 posted by Staff Member

    The chairman of governors has gone. Did she jump or was she pushed? Will she be held responsible for presiding over this blot on the education landscape, if not who will? Will she write it all up in the newspaper for which she works, The Gradian. Is anyone prepared to do anything for the sake of the school,its children and an utterly demoralized staff. PETER: Some very good questions here!

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 22 September 2015 06:26 posted by Jo

    The example you quote is almost unbelievable, except that I know it is true and much worse than you describe, as other serious allegations swirl around the school. The mystery remains, why those with responsibility for the school and its children continue in the cover up. Governors of the school and academy trust appear happy for this state of affairs to continue. Why? Far too many teachers careers destroyed, and still it goes on. And in how many other schools?

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