According to a recent report published by GOV.UK, 60% of classroom teachers who left their teaching careers in 2021 were under 40. High teacher turnover rates among the younger generation are rampant; teacher retention is a major issue in schools across the UK.
High teacher turnover rates are costly for schools. Time and money spent recruiting and retaining new teachers is making it harder for schools who already have stretched budgets.
That’s why when it comes to teacher recruitment and retention, it’s important to get it right!
As experts in education and HR services for schools, our dedicated team of HR professionals has created this blog to give you the tips, tools, and guides to support you with your teacher retention strategy. But first, let’s look at why it’s crucial to recruit a younger generation of teaching staff.
The Benefits of Recruiting and Retaining a Younger Generation of Teachers
Recruiting and retaining the best young talent is critical to the future of education. A younger generation of teachers brings significant benefits such as fresh perspectives, enthusiasm, technological expertise, diversity, innovation, and potential for long-term commitment to the profession.
Younger teachers are typically more tech-savvy and can bring valuable skills and new tools to the classroom. Pupils find it easier to relate to their younger teachers, with the proximity in age between students and teachers improving engagement and motivation. These factors can significantly enhance children’s learning experience in school.
Recruiting younger teachers also increases diversity within the teaching profession. This exposure to different cultures and perspectives can promote greater understanding, acceptance, and inspiration among students.
Overall, recruiting and retaining younger teachers are proven to improve the quality of education and support the development of future generations.
The Difficulties of Recruiting and Retaining Younger Teachers
There are several limitations that schools may face when recruiting and retaining a younger generation of teachers:
Stretched school budgets and resources: Schools may struggle to offer competitive salaries and benefits packages that are attractive to younger teachers. This can make it difficult to recruit and retain talented and motivated individuals who may be able to earn higher salaries in other professions.
Flexible work arrangements: Many younger people may be looking for more flexible work arrangements, which can be challenging for schools that have rigid work patterns during term time and may not be able to offer the same level of flexibility as other professions.
Frequent career changes: Younger generations are more likely to change careers frequently, which can make it difficult for schools to retain talented teachers over the long term. This can create a high turnover rate and a lack of stability within the teaching profession.
Overall, these limitations can make it challenging for schools to attract and retain a younger generation of teachers. To address these challenges, schools may need to explore alternative approaches. As school leaders, what can you do to tackle this issue? Below we offer tips and advice on how senior leadership in schools can improve their teacher retention rates:
Tips For Retaining Your Teaching Staff
Offer flexible work options where possible
The top reason why teachers and leaders under 35 do not intend to seek promotion in the next year is because they are concerned about the potential impact on work-life balance.
Younger teachers value flexibility in their work schedule and appreciate the ability to balance their work and personal life. Consider offering flexible work arrangements such as remote work options, flexible schedules, job sharing opportunities, or even the odd ‘duvet day’ during quiet periods or admin sessions where possible.
Use AI to reduce teachers’ administrative work
With the help of technology, you can now automate administrative tasks and reduce the workload of younger teachers. 91% of them said the high workload was a primary factor in making them consider leaving the state sector altogether within a year of qualifying. Schools can use AI-powered tools to manage paperwork, grading, lesson planning, and pupil assessments.
Take Sonar Tracker for example: a market-leading pupil assessment and progress platform. Sonar Tracker gives schools full visibility around pupil attainment levels that help make informed decisions around learning and teaching strategies. Using tools like Sonar Tracker reduces workload and empowers your teachers to focus on what they do best – teaching.
Encourage and enable work-life balance
According to a recent report on school workload, the top reason why teachers and leaders under 35 do not seek a promotion is a concern about the potential impact on their work-life balance. It’s clear that promoting work-life balance is essential to retaining younger teachers, so encourage them to take breaks, prioritise self-care, and support them in managing their time.
Offer better employee benefits
Another key to teacher retention is to offer better employee benefits where possible. Consider providing health insurance, wellness programs, and breakfast Fridays for example.
Consider a buddy-up system for new teachers
Assign an experienced teacher to mentor new teachers and provide them with ongoing support and guidance. A buddy-up system can help new teachers integrate into the school community quicker and reduce their stress levels. Teachers are more likely to stay in a school if they feel a sense of belonging and support.
Organize social events
Social events provide an opportunity for teachers to connect with one another outside of the classroom. Consider organising regular social events or team-building activities to foster a positive work environment and create better working relationships.
Review your teacher induction process
Make sure that your teacher induction process is well-structured and supportive of new teachers. Have a clear onboarding plan. Offer training sessions, peer coaching, and ongoing support and feedback to help new teachers adjust to their role and responsibilities.
Create a professional development plan
Younger teachers value opportunities for professional growth and development. Create a professional development plan that aligns with their interests and career goals and offer them ongoing support and guidance. Younger teachers are less satisfied with rate of pay increases compared to experience and growth in the role. Download our free ‘Professional Development Guide’ that can help with teacher retention, or speak to our team to discuss the range of CPD courses we have available.
Show your appreciation
A recent nationwide survey confirmed that young teachers don’t feel appreciated. 61% of teachers under 35 feel their school does not recognise and reward high performance. 36% of teachers under 35 say they do not feel valued by their school. It’s important to recognise the hard work and dedication of your younger teachers by showing your appreciation and making them feel valued. Celebrate their accomplishments, provide positive feedback, and consider an incentive scheme to acknowledge their contributions to the school and their pupils.
Hire fresh graduates
Consider hiring fresh graduates as they bring new ideas, energy, and enthusiasm to the workplace. They are often open to learning and can be shaped according to the school’s vision and culture.
Schools can consider starting their recruitment with the teacher training program. Our team of HR experts helped a Primary School in Essex recruit and retain many trainee teachers who had just left university. We can help your school recruit teachers in the same way through our HR services for schools!
Younger teachers often have innovative ideas and perspectives that can benefit the school community, but 91% of teachers under 35 do not feel their views are valued by policymakers. Create opportunities for them to share their ideas, listen to their feedback regularly, and incorporate their input into decision-making processes.
Get Help from the Recruitment Experts
Making a plan to improve recruitment and retention of young teachers can be difficult and time-consuming. Get support from professional HR experts so you can focus on leading your school. Our team at Juniper can support you in creating an effective recruitment and retention strategy to find and keep your best talent.
Get access to high quality professional development for you and your staff and all the support you need to address your school’s recruitment and retention needs.