Should I Stay or Should I Go? NFER Analysis of Teachers Joining and Leaving the Profession

Ben Durbin, Jack Worth, Susie Bamford

30 November 2015

Research Report

The issues relating to teacher supply are complex. This report seeks to explore and reconcile the messages from different data sources, and includes an analysis of the Labour Force Survey. Our analysis tracks teachers based on actual job moves rather than stated intentions, and provides new insights into the nature of the current teacher supply challenge.

Key Findings

  • Teacher numbers have been growing in recent years. Although around 10 per cent leave each year, this figure is the same in most years, and slightly greater numbers have been joining. This contrasts with some surveys reporting large numbers of teachers considering leaving the profession.
  • Pupil numbers are forecast to rise, and so more teachers will be needed in future. Despite this, fewer teachers have been entering initial teacher training in recent years.
  • Secondary schools face particular challenges, especially in some Ebacc subjects. They face greater growth in pupil numbers, shortfalls in current ITT entrants, and higher numbers reporting considering leaving the profession.
  • More than half of teachers that leave take up jobs in the education sector (excluding those who left to retire). A similar proportion of the non-student joiners were already working in the education sector.
  • Teachers are not leaving for higher paid jobs, at least in the short term, and on average have experienced a ten per cent fall in wages compared to similar teachers who remain in teaching.

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Related Titles

Should I stay or should I go? NFER analysis of teachers joining and leaving the profession , Should I stay or should I go? NFER analysis of teachers joining and leaving the profession , Teacher resignation and recruitment survey (Report No. 40) , Teacher resignation and recruitment survey

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