Engaging Teachers: NFER Analysis of Teacher Retention

Sarah Lynch, Jack Worth, Karen Wespieser, Susan Bamford

09 September 2016

Recruiting and retaining enough teachers to serve growing numbers of pupils is one of the key challenges currently facing education in England. In 2015, NFER research shed light on the numbers of teachers who leave the profession and where they go. This follow-up report explores how engaged and supported teachers feel, and how this relates to their intention to remain or to leave the profession. It is based on data collected from four rounds of NFER’s nationally representative Teacher Voice survey between June 2015 and May 2016, and 21 in-depth interviews with teachers who have recently left or are considering leaving the state sector.

Key Findings

  • The majority of teachers are not considering leaving the profession. The proportion of teachers considering leaving has, however, increased significantly in the last year from 17 to 23 per cent. While smaller proportions than this actually leave, this figure has also increased.
  • There is a strong interaction between teacher engagement and retention. Half of teachers are “engaged” and of these, the vast majority (90 per cent) are not considering leaving. “Disengaged” teachers are much more likely to be considering leaving, but only 15 per cent of teachers are disengaged.
  • Engagement underpins retention. Protective factors associated with retention include job satisfaction, having adequate resources, reward and recognition, and being well supported by management. We found no evidence of any influence of a school’s proportion of free school meal pupils, academy status or region on intent to leave the profession.
  • Maths teachers and senior leaders have high levels of engagement and are less likely to be considering leaving. Conversely, science teachers, and experienced male teachers have a heightened risk of leaving.

Related Titles

Engaging teachers , Should I stay or should I go? NFER analysis of teachers joining and leaving the profession

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