01 February 2017
In May 2016, the Home Secretary wrote to the Chair of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) asking that the MAC undertake a comprehensive review of the labour market for teachers in nursery, primary, secondary and special needs education, to determine whether there is a shortage which it would be sensible to fill, at least in part, through non-European Economic Area (EEA) migration.
The MAC issued a call for evidence to which NFER responded by the deadline of 16 September 2016. NFER responded to questions 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 18, 20, and 21, providing research evidence on teacher recruitment and retention drawn from the following reports:
- Engaging teachers: NFER analysis of teacher retention (Lynch et al., 2016)
- Should I stay or should I go? NFER Analysis of Teachers Joining and Leaving the Profession (Worth et al., 2015).
- Nuffield-funded report by the IFS on the longer-term costs and benefits of different initial teacher training routes, which NFER contributed to (Allen et al., 2016).
Overall, our evidence suggests that:
- despite rising pupil numbers and shortfalls in new trainees, the overall number of teachers in England has grown over recent years, in line with pupil numbers
- retaining working-age teachers is becoming harder and wider economic and labour market conditions are probably making retention harder
- at a time when trainee targets are being missed, retaining the teachers already in the profession becomes all the more important. Policymakers have paid far less attention on retaining teachers who are currently employed in state schools than on recruiting new teachers
- teachers’ pay is not the main motivating factor for retention and other factors, such as engagement, are far more important.
The MAC published its recommendations on changes to the Shortage Occupation List relating to teachers in January 2017 which includes mention of some of NFER’s evidence on pages 43-44.