Aim: To improve staff morale, provide career progression within school and thus reduce staff turnover; to attract young graduates and achieve a high conversion rate into teacher training, all of which should benefit pupils.

Background: Staff were leaving for career progression elsewhere.


Year 1:

Internal responsibility posts were advertised for staff to initiate school improvement projects. Three colleagues were successful and the projects instigated included leading a Teaching and Learning Group, improving performance in Science for students with low achievement on entry and establishing Economics within a new options structure.

Academic mentor posts were advertised to attract graduates to apply with the intention that many of these would go on to teacher training programmes; two were employed to support teaching and learning in Years 11 and 12.

Continued recruitment of Teach First candidates to provide high quality personnel within the classroom.

Two outstanding teachers were promoted to Lead Practitioners.

Year 2:

Additional responsibility posts were advertised; one project concerned developing Computer Science and another was for Special Educational Needs within the classroom.

Six graduates were employed as literacy mentors. Supported by a member of staff, a Teach First candidate provided a comprehensive pre-teacher training course which led to four of the mentors applying for teacher training posts, with two of them being successful.

The academic mentors continued to provide support with Year 11, 12 and 13 students. Both academic mentors applied for posts through School Direct.

Year 3: Both of the academic mentors gained places on teacher training courses as part of the Teaching Schools partnership.

Evidence: Literacy data, staff appraisal and retention statistics.

Impact: Staff retention was much improved. With more access to responsibility allowances, the age profile of the staff also changed. However, the school is no longer employing anyone through the Teach First Programme because of the poor retention of candidates.

The literacy mentors improved the reading ages of students by an average of 1 year and 5 months. Teachers commented that pupils on the programme became more confident and were more willing to engage in lessons. This project contributed to Eastbury attaining the Times Educational Supplement Literacy and English Award for 2013 and 2014. Following this success, numeracy mentors were also appointed. Mentoring of Sixth Form and Year 11 students increased motivation levels and ultimately results.

Reflections: These initiatives have proved very positive for both staff and pupils. Our improved staff retention is a result of a number of factors including improved teaching and learning, excellent student behaviour, high quality leadership and the recognition of talent.

Contact: Keith Coffey,;