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New EPI research to understand how school workforce characteristics determine school group effectiveness

teacher stood in front of blackboard

As part of the Education Policy Institute’s (EPI) ongoing investigation into the features of effective school groups, a new report highlights the complexities around assessing workforce management in schools and launches a consultation seeking to develop understanding in this area.  

Given government ambitions for all schools in England to join a ‘strong multi-academy trust’, a better understanding of the characteristics that make a ‘strong’ school group is required. Supported by Capita, this report is the latest in a series of EPI studies which consider broader school group characteristics including financial efficiency and inclusion metrics.

The report explores workforce management by proposing quantitative measures of sustainable turnover of classroom teachers, to better assess the characteristics of ‘strong’ school groups. The new consultation, launching alongside the report, asks how best to construct reliable and meaningful measures of workforce metrics that identify school groups with good organisational practices, and those that may raise cause for concern. It sets out two potential measures that capture different dynamics of changes in the school workforce:

  • an annual turnover of classroom teachers; and 
  • a five-year cumulative measures of teacher turnover

High teacher turnover has been shown to negatively impact student attainment and drain school resources, potentially leading to poorer working conditions and becoming a reason for persistently high levels of turnover. While low teacher turnover is often viewed as preferable, it can also bring challenges such as fewer opportunities to improve job matching and by unproportionally distributing the burden of training new teachers throughout the wider school system. 

EPI encourages those within the education sector to respond to the consultation questions in order to help improve our understanding of the characteristics of sustainable workforce management.

Lorna Stevenson, Researcher at the Education Policy Institute, said:

“Alongside the growing push for schools to join ‘strong multi-academy trusts’, there’s also growing demand for policymakers to better understand the characteristics and practices contributing to ‘strong’ school groups. This report explores the workforce management characteristics of school groups and highlights the complexities associated with using these to determine preferable outcomes. Accompanying this report, we have opened a new consultation to better understand the impact of teacher turnover
on pupil and school outcomes. We encourage the education sector to respond.”

Cindy Rampersaud, Client Partner & Managing Director at Capita Education & Learning, said:

“Capita are delighted to be supporting the Education Policy Institute in their features of effective school groups research project. We understand how important a high performing workforce is, especially in schools where the teachers are on the frontline of developing our next generation. Retention of talent, the systems and indicators that help keep focus on areas such as teacher progression, are pivotal to the impact learning can have on individuals, communities and the wider economy –
supporting social mobility, economic growth and productivity – helping individuals to thrive and reach their full potential.”

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