The teaching pool keeps losing water because no-one is paying attention to the leak. That is, we’re misdiagnosing the problem as ‘recruitment’ when it’s really retention.
(Merrow, 1999: 64)
This chapter focuses on issues of teacher commitment as a factor in what we have elsewhere termed ‘quality retention’ (Day et al., 2007). We use this phrase as a means of focusing on the importance not only of retaining teachers in classrooms, but ensuring, as far as possible, that their commitment to making a difference in the learning lives and achievement of their pupils is sustained and, where appropriate, revisited, reviewed and renewed. Little attention has been paid to this in the past and, as a consequence, most resources have been invested in recruitment and pre-service training and development programmes. Yet, for those concerned with standards of teaching, learning and achievement, it is vital, also, to ensure that teachers are supported in ways that ensure they do more than survive and maintain a minimum level of basic professional and pedagogical competence over their 30+ years in schools.