Sota needs to improve staff satisfaction

I am a former staff member of the School of the Arts (Sota).

During my three years with the school, I witnessed many outstanding staff members, from both teaching and non-teaching positions, leave the school (Sota explains about teachers leaving; May 28).

While the reasons given by principal Lim Geok Cheng of teachers leaving during popular windows after collecting their performance bonus or timing it with the June holidays are valid, there are other things the school needs to look into.

A common grouse among former staff is the lack of appreciation by school management.

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The school ought to look into attrition rate, unbiased performance appraisals and better methods of improving staff satisfaction.

The International Baccalaureate programme is rigorous.

High turnover rates and failure to replace teachers promptly can thus lead to increased workload on teachers.

Furthermore, Sota has transited from an arts-focused curriculum to one that is academically driven.

I believe this has caused unhappiness among many teachers and led to them leaving for other institutions or to focus on their arts practices.

I have two children who are Sota students.

They have expressed concern about their best teachers leaving, and said that many of their classmates are highly distressed over it.

I have also noticed a significant drop in my children's grades this year. They even failed some subjects, despite being above-average students.

Hence, this issue is a major concern for me and other parents.

Vivien Tan Ling Ling (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2017, with the headline 'Sota needs to improve staff satisfaction'. Print Edition | Subscribe