Teacher Workforce Dynamics in England

Jack Worth, Sarah Lynch, Jude Hillary, Connie Rennie, Joana Andrade

30 October 2018

With rising pupil numbers, shortfalls in the number of trainee teachers and an increasing proportion of teachers leaving the profession, retaining teachers who are already in the profession is vital for managing the current and future supply of teachers.

This report draws out a number of key factors impacting on teacher retention and makes recommendations for policy makers and school leaders to help respond to these challenges.

Key Findings

  • Both the rates of teachers leaving the profession and moving between schools have increased since 2010. The combined impact of this has meant that school leaders have had more vacancies to fill each year, more staffing uncertainty to deal with and higher costs of recruiting replacements.
  • Lack of job satisfaction is a key reason why teachers leave the profession. The job satisfaction of teachers who leave the profession for a new job also improves considerably, suggesting that the prospect of higher job satisfaction was also an important factor.
  • More and better part-time and flexible working opportunities for secondary teachers is likely to improve retention. Many secondary school teachers switch from full-time to part-time work after they leave teaching, suggesting that there is unmet demand for part-time work for secondary school teachers that drives some to leave.
  • Teachers work long hours during term time and are dissatisfied with their amount of leisure time. Teachers work around 50 hours per week in term time, longer than police officers and nurses – even when school holidays are factored in. Working intensively over long periods can create stress and health/wellbeing issues.
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