Teacher Labour Market in England - Annual Report 2019

Jack Worth & Jens Van den Brande

25 February 2019

NFER’s first annual report on the state of the teacher workforce measures the key indicators of the teacher labour market and teachers’ working conditions. The recruitment, development and retention of teachers and school leaders is a crucial underpinning for a successful education system. However, England’s school system faces a substantial and growing challenge of ensuring there are sufficient numbers of high-quality teachers employed in schools.

The report presents data from a range of sources, which together highlight the trends that describe the current teacher supply situation and how it has changed over time. Teachers’ working conditions are a fundamental lever to effecting change over teacher recruitment and retention, so we also present data on teachers’ working conditions and how they compare to similar individuals in other professional occupations.

Key Findings

  • The secondary school system is facing a substantial teacher supply challenge over the next decade, which requires urgent action.
  • Retention rates of early-career teachers (between two and five years into their careers) have dropped significantly between 2012 and 2018.
  • Alternative sources of teacher supply, such as returners and overseas-trained teachers, have not increased in spite of the growing supply challenge.
  • One in five teachers (20 per cent) feel tense about their job most or all of the time, compared to 13 per cent of similar professionals. Two out of five teachers (41 per cent) are dissatisfied with their amount of leisure time, compared to 32 per cent of similar professionals.
  • Teaching’s traditional ‘recession-proof’ advantage over other professions has eroded over time due to a relatively strong graduate labour market. High job security for graduates outside of teaching makes it harder to attract them into teaching and retain them.