Workforce development is a critical aspect of ensuring high-quality education. The recent findings from EPI’s interactive benchmarking tool shed light on the dynamics within Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) and their impact on teacher turnover, financial management, and pupil outcomes.

The report, sponsored by Capita and Entrust, proposes some clear strategies for modernising workforce development to create a healthier and more inclusive educational ecosystem, helping to create better outcomes for children and communities.

The balancing act when it comes to teacher turnover is clearly one of the biggest challenges faced by schools and academies across the UK. MATs though do seem to exhibit both higher teacher turnover rates and healthier financial balances compared to other school groups. If we explore this delicate balance further, we can see that MATs experience significantly higher annual turnover of classroom teachers than local authorities. Larger MATs, in particular, face even higher turnover rates.

However, staff turnover isn’t necessarily negative. Teachers often leave to take on promoted posts, to pursue career goals, or because of life changes, and so turnover can indicate effective professional development, and opportunities for growth. Equally, the retention of high-quality teachers can drive overall efficiency, due to the relative cost of recruiting and onboarding new staff. The key is understanding why the turnover is occurring and what impact it is having on pupil outcomes.

So, is financial health linked? Despite turnover challenges, MATs maintain positive in-year revenue balances. At the primary level, they are twice as likely to have such balances. At secondary, MATs are almost three times as likely, although their overall budget percentage remains smaller than in primary schools. When staff leave there is an opportunity to review the staffing structure which can lead to potential reductions in staff costs where the most cost-effective solutions are identified. The report also uncovers data that shows around 90% of MATs use top-slicing, taking a fixed proportion of funding from schools which allows for a more targeted resource allocation approach and economies of scale to be achieved.

Efficiency, turnover and attainment are, of course, interrelated, and this is highlighted by the report. Higher turnover correlates with efficiency but, at least in the secondary sector, also correlates negatively with overall attainment and post-16 destinations. Of course, correlation is not causation and there may be a variety of other factors at play in terms of driving efficiency, turnover and attainment. At the primary level, no significant correlation exists between teacher turnover and KS2 attainment.

There is so much more data in this report and you can download it here, but the evidence is clear: modernising workforce development requires a nuanced approach, and all schools and trusts would benefit from a clearer understanding of what is driving staff turnover. Schools and MATs with healthy reserves can leverage their financial stability to attract and retain talented educators while prioritising pupil inclusion and attainment. By balancing turnover, efficiency, pupil outcomes and financial health, we can create a sustainable and inclusive educational landscape. Let’s continue the dialogue on workforce development, ensuring that our schools remain vibrant centres of learning and growth.

If you would like to talk to us about workforce development or financial sustainability, you can email

Written by


John Faulconbridge

experienced educational leader

John Faulconbridge is an experienced educational leader, with a wealth of experience in school leadership; leadership of the national Capita Early Careers Framework training programme and as executive sponsor of the DfE sponsored Capita Entrust National Flexible Working project. He is a subject expert and thought leader on teacher retention, and the workplace practices which support it. His 35 years in the field, including 23 years as a senior leader in state secondary schools, have equipped him with invaluable insights into the intricacies of school management.

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