Mayor supports recruitment and retention of London teachers who are leaving faster than elsewhere in England

Friday 18 May 2018

London has the best-performing schools and is a great place to learn to teach and develop a teaching career, but more needs to be done to retain teachers according to research jointly commissioned by the Mayor and the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) published today.

NFER’s research reveals that teachers in the capital are leaving the profession at a higher rate than the national average at a time where pupil numbers are soaring, mainly because of the high cost of housing, pressure on teachers’ standards of living and cuts to schools’ funding.

Although he does not have any statutory powers over education in the capital, the Mayor is building on NFER’s findings and doing all that he can to support schools and teachers, particularly teachers at an early stage of their career who need more support to continue working in the capital.

Today, the Mayor has launched an online Teach London resource, a simple one-stop shop for people who want to become a teacher in London. The website sets out and promotes the benefits of starting and continuing a teaching career in London.

To help keep teachers in London, Sadiq is also providing mental health first aid training to 2,000 teachers through his Thrive London programme. The Mayor’s Getting Ahead London scheme is designed to help career progression, providing coaching, training and support for teachers who are keen to make the step up to leadership roles such as headteachers. The Mayor has also published new projections for pupil demand which shows secondary school numbers will continue to increase to 2023, meaning more schools, headteachers and teachers will be needed.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I want all young Londoners to get the best possible start in life and achieve their full potential. I’m incredibly proud of our world-class education system which makes our capital the best place in the UK to learn and teach. However with pupil numbers rising, it’s absolutely vital that we attract and retain more brilliant teachers.

“That’s why we need to make sure we have enough teachers being trained to meet the needs of London schools and that more is done to stop teachers leaving the profession.

“Today I’m launching Teach London, an online resource to help teachers enter the profession and our programme Thrive London is also supporting their mental wellbeing, as well as that of their pupils.

“I am doing all I can for teachers and schools in London – including tackling the housing crisis - but there is no doubt that real-term cuts to school funding and subsequent financial difficulties are putting our schools under increasing pressure. Ministers must rethink their decision on school funding and do more to mitigate the cost pressures London schools face.”

Despite London’s standing as an attractive place to teach, NFER’s research reveals that teachers in the capital are leaving the profession at a higher rate than the national average, while pupil numbers rise faster than the majority of England, leading to a shortfall that is already being felt in schools across the capital with more than a quarter of London secondary schools having at least one teaching vacancy.

Carole Willis, Chief Executive of the National Foundation for Educational Research, said: “Teacher recruitment and retention is a major issue facing England’s education system. Our ongoing research in this area is providing valuable insights on the nature and scale of this issue. Teacher supply remains a significant challenge for schools generally, and in London specifically at a time when secondary pupil numbers are growing so rapidly. Our analysis has highlighted the cost of living as the main barrier to longer-term retention of teachers in London and we would encourage policymakers to look at how housing policy interventions could help to retain more teachers in the capital.”

It is clear from the research that one of the most significant challenges to teacher retention in London is the cost of housing. The report shows a clear relationship between areas of England with higher rent prices, dominated by London boroughs, and higher rates of teachers aged under 40 leaving the profession. The Mayor has made it clear that he is determined to increase the number of affordable homes built in London through new planning rules and investment. Last year, Sadiq broke the City Hall record for both the number of genuinely affordable and social homes started in a single year, even with his new tougher definition of what is affordable. In 2017/2018, his ‘Homes for Londoners’ programme saw 12,526 genuinely affordable homes started – more than in any year since City Hall took control of housing investment. Crucially this included 2,826 new homes based on social rent levels – up from zero homes for social rent in the pipeline inherited from the previous Mayor.

Sadiq has also given a major boost to councils in their plans to get building again with his new £1.67bn programme to help get 10,000 new council homes built over the next four years. He is taking a more interventionist approach to increase the availability of land in the city with a £250m revolving City Hall Land Fund to buy and prepare land for new and affordable homes, and using the £4.82bn secured from government for 116,000 new affordable homes by 2022.

Deputy Mayor, Education and Childcare, Joanne McCartney, said: “London is an international beacon in education; we are leading the way in narrowing the gap between how children from rich and poor backgrounds perform at school and we have more good and outstanding schools than any other region in England.

“We need to do more to ensure there are opportunities for teachers to build their careers in London, from leadership to becoming a head, but Government must act now to make sure our schools and teachers can continue to deliver world-class education.”

Media Enquiries: Information for the media is available from Christopher Calvert at communitydesk@london.gov.uk, or call 020 7983 4066.