Teacher Supply, Retention and Mobility in London

Jack Worth, Connie Rennie, Sarah Lynch

18 May 2018

As part of the Teach London strategy, NFER is working in collaboration with the Greater London Authority to gain a deeper understanding of the factors influencing the recruitment, retention and mobility of London’s teaching workforce. This report explores the characteristics and dynamics of London’s teacher labour market in unprecedented depth with quantitative analysis of school workforce data, supplemented by discussions with London teachers.

London is a vibrant city and an attractive place for young teachers to come and work. However, despite the opportunities that London’s education system offers, it faces a significant and growing teacher supply challenge as it struggles to retain teachers over the long term. The challenge is specific to London rather than a general pattern across other large English cities and requires action from policymakers, school leaders and other stakeholders in London’s education system.

Key Findings

  • London has a higher rate of young teachers leaving the profession than other large cities and the rest of England. It also has a steady outflow of teachers in their thirties and forties to teach elsewhere. The most important factor driving low teacher retention in London is higher housing costs.
  • London has more new entrants to its teacher workforce each year than in other large cities and the rest of England, driven by a greater proportion of newly qualified teachers (NQTs). But these new teachers are not enough to replace the many teachers who leave teaching in London each year.
  • Higher proportions of schools with vacancies and of unqualified teachers employed in London, compared to other areas, suggests that the labour market is already experiencing significant shortages in many areas.
  • Early-career teachers are accelerated into middle leadership positions more quickly in London than they are in other areas, due to a lack of more experienced teachers to fill the roles.
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