Short Supply: Addressing the Post-Pandemic Teacher Supply Challenge in England

Jack Worth

16 January 2023

This essay draws together the range of insights that we have gained from a programme of research funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The essay discusses the implications of the research findings for teacher supply policy in England within the landscape in early 2023.

We explore the key trends in teacher recruitment, retention and working conditions over the last decade, assessing what progress has been made in addressing the growing teacher supply challenge and where future policy attention could best be focussed to continue addressing the challenges.

Key Findings

  • High teacher workload and a lack of pay competitiveness are each likely to be contributing to teacher leaving rates remaining high. A reduced pace and volume of policy change since 2016 may have contributed to a slight improvement in the retention rate.
  • The rapid growth of flexible working opportunities in the wider labour market since the pandemic represents an important new threat to the overall attractiveness of teaching relative to other careers for new recruits, but most importantly for retaining existing teachers.
  • The Government needs to take urgent action to address issues on all these fronts. NFER recommend that this includes developing a long-term pay and financial incentives strategy and redoubling efforts to ensure the recommendations of the independent workload review groups are implemented in more schools.