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New NAHT research shows government needs to move faster on the issues that damage recruitment and retention

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The latest data obtained by NAHT from a survey of its own members shows 77% of school leaders found recruitment a struggle last year, while 67% said members of their staff had left for reasons other than retirement.

For the first time, NAHT asked its members about solutions to the recruitment and retention crisis in schools. 75% said a ‘better work-life balance’, 63% said a ‘less punitive accountability system’. The top answer was ‘a real-terms increase in school funding’ which was cited by 82% of respondents.

The full report will be published in early 2019 but these interim findings support what other highly-regarded education bodies have been reporting recently.

75% of respondents to a survey by the Education Support Partnership said they faced physical and mental health issues in the last two years because of their work – citing recent curriculum reforms, Ofsted and funding pressures as reasons. Recent research from UCL has found that teachers in England have the lowest job satisfaction rates of all English-speaking countries, having experienced a big increase in paperwork and data entry. The OECD reports that starting salaries for teachers in England are lower than average, while teachers in England with 15 years’ experience have seen a 10% cut in their salaries.

NAHT’s president, Andy Mellor, will speak at the NAHT’s Primary Conference in Birmingham tomorrow(Friday 23 November) to urge the government to slay the three-headed dragon of workload, accountability and insufficient funding which is turning a dream job into a nightmare for many school leaders and their teams.

Mr Mellor will say: “Teaching is a wonderful job. Teachers are amazing and invaluable public servants. NAHT campaigns to improve schools for everyone. Our challenge to the government is to be more aware of how accountability, workload and funding pressures combine to form a barrier when it comes to recruitment and retention.”

First published 20 June 2019