Teacher Retention and Turnover Research - Research Update 1: Teacher Retention by Subject

Jack Worth, Giulia De Lazzari

16 May 2017

This NFER Research Update ‘Teacher retention by subject’ is the first publication in a series that form part of a major new research project – funded by the Nuffield Foundation – to gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics within the teacher workforce in England.

It is also one of the first pieces of research to explore differences in teacher retention rates in English secondary schools by the subject they teach.

Key Findings

  • Rates of early-career teachers in science, maths and languages leaving the profession are particularly high.
  • High leaving rates of science and modern foreign languages teachers, and shortfalls in the number of entries to teacher training in these subjects compared to the Government’s target, may make it difficult for the Government to achieve its aim for 90 per cent of pupils to be entered for GCSEs in EBacc subjects.
  • The amount of curriculum time spent on science and languages has not increased since 2011. The lack of growth in curriculum time could be due to reduced teacher supply constraining schools from expanding provision in these subjects.
  • The amount of curriculum time for technology subjects has fallen dramatically since 2011. The leaving rate for technology teachers is higher than average, which might be driven by schools’ reduced demand for teachers as well as teachers’ own career decisions.

See more information about the project on teacher workforce dynamics.

Also see NFER’s other research on the teacher workforce.