MATs fail to attract teachers due to poor communication, report states

Research from Affinity Workforce suggests that teachers simply don’t know enough about MATs to understand whether or not they offer attractive advantages

New research shows that the majority of teachers can’t see the benefits of multi-academy trusts (MATs).

The data – compiled by Affinity Workforce and entitled Resourcing the Performance Agenda in Education – shows that 68% of teachers in England would choose a role in a standalone school over an MAT position. That said, 63% said they have no understanding of how working for an MAT would differ from a standard school, and 54% of teachers within MATs aren’t sure of the advantages their role may bring.

The report aims to explore the teaching crisis from the perspective of both teachers and their employers, revealing the key issues and priorities.

Dr Nick Capstick OBE, CEO of The White Horse Federation, said of the research:

One of the major drivers for greater collaboration between schools and the emergence of multi-academy trusts, alongside sharing best practice and economies of scale, was that it would give teachers the opportunity to fast track their careers, experience different roles, departments and schools, whilst staying with the same employer, and to enjoy more flexibility.

If teachers are still unaware of the advantages of working for a school within a MAT, then we need to rectify this as a matter of urgency. MATs have to get much better at articulating their propositions to teachers and building their brands to attract high quality talent.”

Eighty-three per cent of teachers believe that the teaching skills shortage will only become more severe over the next three years – something which shows just how important it is for educational organisations to adopt new approaches to attraction and retention of staff.

Besides flexibility, other priorities for teachers choosing a new job include the reputation of a school as a good employer (95%), high performance aspirations (94%) and the leadership within the school (94%).

Nicola McQueen, CEO at Affinity Workforce, said:

“As an industry we need to offer teachers a more modern, flexible working environment, with greater variety and more opportunities to experience different roles, departments and even schools, without them having to hop from one employer to the next to progress their careers.

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“Forward-thinking MATs are in a great position to be able to offer the flexibility that teachers are looking for, but currently too many of them are failing to articulate their teacher propositions effectively, and therefore they are struggling to attract high quality teachers.

“The battle for talent is only going to get more fierce, so MAT and school leaders must start developing strong and authentic employer brands, which directly meet the needs of today’s teacher workforce.”

McQueen continued:

“Progressive MATs are moving away from narrow, tactical recruitment strategies and adopting broader people strategies which focus more on the well-being and development of teachers, far more in line with what we have seen within the commercial world over the last ten years. It’s one thing to have teachers leaving the profession because they have decided that they want to pursue their ambition in another sector, but it’s quite another to have teachers walking away simply on the basis that they are fed up with the job and can’t cope with it anymore.

“With the right strategies, MATs, academies and schools can at least ensure that teachers feel as though their employers are on their side and committed to supporting them, inside and outside of the classroom.”

When it comes to looking for new jobs, many teachers don’t feel that the current system is fit for purpose. The majority (70%) of teachers think recruitment agencies need to improve standards and professionalism, whilst 73% say agencies need to focus on improving the candidate experience.

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