Job stability and professional experience
We are all aware of the situation of instability that many teachers, particularly those in temporary positions and those who have recently passed public examinations, experience. The worldwide economic crisis of recent years, whose effects are still being felt, greatly affected this situation, making school workforces more unstable than before the recession.
Given this situation, we should be critical and ask ourselves how this issue is affecting school effectiveness in order to establish clear evidence on the relationship between effectiveness and the job stability of school staff. In this regard, the results obtained from this project are transparent. Out of all of the factors involved, the stability of teaching staff is most clearly related to high effectiveness:
- In effective schools, most teaching staff have extensive professional experience, long service with the school and job stability. While teaching staff experience and stability is a fundamental element, it also needs to be accompanied by other factors to ensure school effectiveness.
- Schools in which there is significant teacher turnover (where a high proportion are usually newcomers in the current school year), or in which most staff only have a few years of professional experience, are associated with low effectiveness.
- In schools with low effectiveness, it is common to find unstable workforces with a shortage of permanently contracted teachers.
Professional and job satisfaction
Our study also reveals another factor that is intimately associated with the stability of the workforce, namely teachers’ levels of job and professional satisfaction. The results show that reduced levels of general teacher satisfaction are clearly associated with low effectiveness:
- Teachers in less effective schools show generally low or very low levels of satisfaction and this is a determining factor that characterises schools with low effectiveness. Factors or practices that protect effectiveness in settings with dissatisfied teachers are not identified.
- Teachers in effective schools generally affirm that they are satisfied with their schools and professional work. If asked, these teachers advocate their schools as a good place to work.
- While low levels of satisfaction are a sufficient condition for identifying a school with low effectiveness, high levels of satisfaction by themselves do not ensure school effectiveness; they need to always be accompanied by other factors that protect effectiveness, such as extensive professional development of teachers.