Maximising staff retention in turbulent times for education

Maximising staff retention in turbulent times for education

by Advanced PR, Author

Short-changed and understaffed

Schools in the UK are dealing with staffing shortages on an unprecedented scale. A DfE survey released in 2023 found that over 40,000 educators left state schools before retirement in 2022 – representing 10% of the workforce.

In further education, the picture is equally alarming. The latest DfE data shows that over 50% of educators in 2015 were no longer teaching after 5 years, while 4 in 10 say they are likely to leave the profession within the next 12 months. 

A recent Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report finds that recommended pay for college teachers had fallen by 18% in real terms between 2011 and 2022. Meanwhile, in a 2022 University and College Union (UCU) report, 70% of FE staff stated they would quit their jobs within the next 5 years if issues around low pay were not addressed.

A matter of wellbeing

The UCU report found that low pay was having a significant effect on staff wellbeing. More than 4 in 5 respondents (82%) stated their financial situation was having an impact on their mental health, while nearly half (47%) said low pay had damaged their relationships with family and friends.

A 2019 Ofsted report (schools and FE) highlights unmanageable workloads, time-consuming administrative tasks and stress in the lead up to Ofsted inspection as major contributors to poor wellbeing.

The report also highlights the level of help and assistance available to teaching and support staff. Just over half (57%) of respondents in FE said their line manager frequently gives praise and recognition, and only 36% said their line manager often or always supports them with their wellbeing.

Making life easier

Nobody should pretend that technology has all the answers, and software will not solve the problem of staff retention on its own – nor can it do anything to improve staff pay. But it can offer staff respite from menial tasks, and provide a platform for better people management.

When compared to severe shortfalls in funding and other critical matters, implementing a new people management strategy may seem insignificant. However, getting people management right can have a significant effect on staff wellbeing. With a digital continuous performance management (CPM) system in place, staff are more likely to feel motivated and connected.

CPM is a management approach based on regular constructive criticism, feedback, and praise. It allows for feedback in real time, replacing the ‘annual appraisal’ – an outdated assessment model often involving time-consuming administration.

Advanced’s digital CPM, Performance and Talent

Performance and Talent, formerly Clear Review, is a powerful software solution that is agile and easy to use. Hosted in the cloud, there is no need to download any software, and the application can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, making it ideal for flexible and out-of-office work.

Performance and Talent allows for feedback from all areas of the school or college, whether that be from senior leaders or maintenance and facilities staff. Every employee can receive recognition for a job well done, boosting morale and fostering a team mindset.

The platform allows the user to have regular conversations with staff, making it easy to give in-the-moment feedback, constructive advice, and praise. Users can set up individual and group objectives, and these can be reworked as the academic year evolves.

Performance and Talent moves leaders and staff members away from ‘tick box’ exercises and admin-heavy appraisal models. Employees can raise concerns in real time, rather than retrospectively, ensuring rapid intervention when needed. This added layer of engagement gives employees a sense their concerns are being taken seriously.

For senior leaders and HR managers, Performance & Talent comes with powerful reporting capabilities. The Talent Snapshots feature gives an at-a-glance overview of promotion and succession planning, and trends data is presented in user-friendly charts and infographics. Data can even be transferred to other frequently used applications, including Tableau and Power BI.


Low pay, unreasonable workload, and lack of engagement with management are leading to poor wellbeing, resulting in teachers and support staff leaving the education sector in record numbers. However, some of the burden can be relieved with Advanced’s digital CPM solution, Performance and Talent. Continual feedback promotes engagement and wellbeing, while HR leaders and line managers get an easy-to-view snapshot of performance over time. The solution is not a magic bullet, but can certainly go someway in promoting staff wellbeing during a turbulent time for education.

Discover Performance and Talent today.


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