School Workforce

Teachers are an integral part of the school workforce, delivering high quality education for young people. Our research aims to give policymakers and system leaders an accurate picture of the education workforce to guide effective, proportionate and well-targeted action for recruitment, retention and development. This is a key area of focus for NFER and one where we continue to build considerable research knowledge.

The recruitment, development and retention of teachers and school leaders is a crucial underpinning for a successful education system. NFER has a well-established research programme on teacher supply, combining analysis of large datasets and in-depth qualitative research to provide fresh insights and identify improvements to keep teachers engaged and aid retention.

In 2017, building on our previous research in this area, NFER began a programme of major research to understand the dynamics of the teacher workforce in England. Funded by a grant from the Nuffield Foundation, we released a series of research updates looking at a number of the key factors driving teacher retention, and making recommendations for policymakers and schools leaders. The final report in this project, published Tuesday 30 October 2018, is available to read here.

Our work also focuses on the retention and development of school leaders, including research on headteacher retention and the role of executive headteachers in multi-academy trusts.

Our evaluation work assesses the impacts of policies and programmes on teacher recruitment, retention, development and effectiveness, and identifies the mechanisms that underpin change. We undertake evaluations using a range of methodologies, including randomised controlled trials, quantitative impact analysis, surveys, interviews and case studies. The final report in this project, published Tuesday 30 October 2018, is available to read here.