Tackling teacher retention issues with Jon Tait

Jon Tait

Jon is a senior leader and deputy headteacher working in a large north-east secondary school. He has experience working in three different schools over 15 years. He’s very interested in creative and innovative teaching practices which engage students and ultimately raise achievement.


Jon regularly presents at TeachMeets and teaching conferences both in the UK and internationally via Skype. This has included presentations to conferences in Manhattan, Ohio and Dubai. He was selected to carry the Olympic Torch at the London 2012 Olympics. Jon has spoken to schools throughout the USA, as well as Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan and France.

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Website: www.edutait.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jon Tait is an experienced senior leader and current deputy headteacher working in a large and diverse secondary school in Middlesbrough. As a classroom teacher, he has experience of working in 3 different North East schools for over 15 years. He's also an author, speaker, coach, and consultant, with an impressive list of contributions to the education sector. Joining us as a keynote speaker for Lead LIVE Darlington, we caught up with Jon to discuss his work and new book, "Bloomsbury CPD Library: Senior Leadership".

 Teacher workload is an ongoing issue, and it's the key area of innovation for many of our events. Tackling workload issues and managing the wellbeing of teachers is key to retaining them.

"Once you’ve recruited the best staff that you possibly can, your next job is to make sure that you can retain them. It’s criminal to invest all that time, effort, and money into recruiting them, only for them to leave within a couple of years because of the conditions and environment within your school."

"Ask any leader in any organisation or business on the planet and they’ll tell you that a happy workforce who understand what and why they are doing what they do, will normally lead to better performance."

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What can be done to create a happy workforce of teachers? Money? Progression opportunities? Support from leaders?

Jon points out that while offering financial gain will put a smile on faces, it isn't a sustainable or effective method to keep teachers onboard; more importantly, it's not the main reason most people go into teaching.

"If we were all motivated by cash incentives, then we’d have left the profession long ago and started chasing sales target style jobs that offer cash bonuses in return for meeting specific targets."

The DfE's solution is the 2019 Teacher Recruitment and Retention strategy, which aims to:

  • Help leaders to create supportive school cultures
  • Transform support for teachers who are early in their careers
  • Maintain attractive career offers to teachers as their teaching journey develops
  • Make it easier for passionate people to become teachers

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Make sure your grass is greener

"Speak to most people in your school, or any friends in the profession and they’ll tell you a different story about why they love their job or the school that they work in. Common reasons are usually linked to job satisfaction, feeling valued and supported, the level of personal and professional development that they receive, together with just loving what they came into the profession to do – teach children."

"Work out what motivates people and why they love doing their job, and then give them more opportunities to feel it, see it and do it... If you build your reputation as a school for watering the grass on your side of the fence, then people will always want to flock to, and stay on the lovely green grass that you cultivate."

If you're keen to hear more from Jon, check out his Edutait blog and join us for Lead LIVE Darlington, where Jon is our confirmed keynote speaker.

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