The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent implications has seen the education sector face some of the biggest changes and challenges out of all sectors.
Schools are now struggling to retain teachers, as they battle with workloads which have increased significantly, rising classroom sizes and technology that hampers rather than helps their day-to-day.
A study from NASUWT found almost 80% of school staff report mental health issues at work. To improve retention, schools need to ensure their teachers are well looked after in and out of the classroom.
As education leaders look to the new year, there are three areas of focus which should come top of the list to support their staff, and integrating the right tools and technology in schools is key to help teachers and Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) staff unlock their power.
Recruitment and teacher attraction
Schools today are facing a growing need to appear attractive to teachers and prospective candidates. To put themselves as employer of choice, Senior Leadership Teams (SLTs) must enable teachers to focus on inspiring and improving the lives of students and reduce the time spent on endless admin.
Providing educators with user-friendly, cloud-based tools and software will give them the critical intelligence they need to do their jobs, so they don’t burn out. Unfortunately, there are still gaps in school technological capabilities. Research has revealed that 44% of teachers and school leaders did not have apps to capture work and assessments and only 39% had the capacity for parents to view student data.
By adopting a cloud-based Management Information System (MIS), teachers can much more easily view and interpret real-time data to inform critical decision making. For example, previously siloed data like pupil absenteeism can be connected to generate welfare alerts so SLTs can act quickly and provide parents and students with support. This technology can also be used to accurately compare progress across departments or year groups, identifying patterns in performance and behaviour.
Providing these tools will not only make teachers’ jobs easier by creating more efficient working conditions. Most importantly it will help retain staff for years to come.
E-learning and Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Fostering the continued professional development of teachers, while having taken somewhat of a backseat during the pandemic, remains an important way to help retain teaching talent. Supporting teachers throughout their lifecycle in a school, whether through workshops, mentoring or classroom observations, ensures they have the right knowledge and skills required to support students and can learn and grow within their roles.
CPD is also facilitating the trend towards digital education, as it can equip staff with skills to develop and deliver effective virtual learning. According to The State of Technology in Education 2021 Report, 86% of educators say tech should be a core part of learning. It’s key that schools continue to explore innovations in this area as it proves invaluable to education.
Just as the right tech can improve the learning experience, so too can it give teachers back the time they are currently wasting on admin and inefficient processes which they can use for their professional development, instead. This is vital to make educators feel more supported, enabling them to be more productive and engage in meaningful, impactful work.
Continued trend towards MATs
In its move towards a stronger, more competitive education system, the central government has mandated that by 2030 all schools will be part of a MAT. Governors and leaders must be able to come together under one common ethos to support this move.
But integrating a new school into a MAT can be a data nightmare. Thousands of pupils, teaching and financial records need to be transferred from the existing school systems and incorporated into that of the MAT. In some cases, this can require a wholescale overhaul of existing technology systems.
With the help of a robust Management Information System, MAT leaders can do this transition iteratively and in such a way where a bridge is built from existing desktop applications to the cloud – removing the need to re-enter countless pieces of data from across the school into the new systems. As the evolution of MATs progresses, so will the dependency on the MIS for the successful running of the trust. Effective digital transformation will be crucial for the changes that are to come.
The disruptions facing our education system today are placing increasing pressure on teachers and on schools to find the right ways to support them. But modern problems can make way for modern solutions, and with the right technological infrastructure in place, it can help shape the culture of learning for the good of all.