Exit Interviews for Teachers

Hello all,

I have recently become a parent governor for my local Primary School and as I have some HR experience, everything HR is coming my way . My first job is to hold Exit Interviews with three teachers who are all leaving at the end of term in July. I have done lots of exit interviews over the years but never in an Educational setting before and I was hoping I could get some advice before holding these meetings. I've drafted up a form with the usual questions around why they enjoyed working there, what they found challenging, why they are leaving etc but I was wondering if there was anything else I should include that is more specific to the education sector, for example should I ask anything around safeguarding?

It is a very small school which has been going through a lot of change over the last couple of years and more recently received a disappointing OfSted report so I would like to try and make sure we get constructive insights from the interviews.

Any pointers would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you in advance 

  • The first thing i would say is that operational management, such as carrying out exit interviews, is absolutely not the role of Governors. The Governing body is there to set the strategic direction of the school and hold the Headteacher to account for managing the school on a day to day basis effectively. If the Headteacher hasn't put effective people management processes in such as finding out why people leave and/or doesn't see that it is their role to do that,. you may have already identified one of the reasons for the poor Ofsted report.

    Having said that. I think including Safeguarding and how well they feel that good safeguarding practices are followed in the school would be a good idea. Including something about their views on leadership and management of the school would also be useful.

    If there are specific issues mentioned in the Ofsted report, exploring their thoughts and ideas around those issues could also be helpful.
  • In reply to Teresa:

    Thank you for your reply. Your point around the role of governors was the same thought I had but I think that is a separate discussion I would need to have with the Chair/Head. It is a very small school and the Headteacher does manage all the day to day HR things but at the moment I'm not sure whether it's just historic that a governor does the leaver interview or it was thought more appropriate considering the size of the school. The headteacher has had conversations with each of the leavers and knows their reasons for leaving and what they are doing next etc but asked for the exit interviews as well.

    Thank you for the tips on the questions - I will include these points and also review the OfSted report for some inspiration!

    Thanks again
  • You only need ask 3 questions.

    They'd work for any job I guess.

    1. What was the best thing about working here?
    2. What was the worst thing about working here?
    3. What would you change?

    Question 3 could be omitted, but the other two questions will tell you almost everything you need to know and avoid asking questions which may have no relevance to them - such as what did you find challenging and if it is relevant, it may not tell much - some people like a challenge others don't.
  • Hi Katie

    When I was helping my headteacher come up with a format for exit interviews a few years ago, I found this very helpful. The fact it was devised by the NUT gave it some credibility with teachers.

    Kind regards

  • A small primary won’t have an in-house HR like most secondary schools, so I’m not surprised it’s fallen to a Governor. I have a template I’m happy to share with you? Questions around communication as a school and departmental, how they found their induction, how was their performance managed, could anything be done to have prevented them leaving etc are some of the questions we ask.
  • In reply to Sasha:

    Thank you Sasha - if you could share the template with me it would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you everyone for your input.
  • In reply to Katie:

    No problem. Can you send me an email address to send it to?
  • In reply to Sasha:

    Sasha, Please could I have a copy too, I've just logged on to ask the same question. Our head always has a conversation with leavers and we are going to to a questionnaire initially to see how that goes. Your questions will be useful. my email address is jaa@ssa.bfet.uk