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NAHT comment on EPI analysis of teacher recruitment & retention issues

Today, the Education Policy Institute publishes an analysis of teacher labour market pressures. The report confirms what NAHT has found over successive years, although NAHT does not agree with all its recommendations.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT said: “Anyone working in a school knows how rewarding it is to help young people learn and grow. On a good day, there’s no better profession to be in. The trouble is, our teachers work longer hours, for less money compared to their peers around the world.

“There’s no light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to teacher recruitment and retention. The government is still failing to provide enough teachers for our growing school population. The recruitment pipeline is leaking at both ends, with insufficient numbers of newly qualified teachers coming into the system and too many experienced teachers leaving prematurely. This is adversely affecting the quality of education, particularly in specialist subjects like physics.

“However, there isn’t a case for pay increases for teachers of particular subjects. Recruitment targets were missed in 2017 for all disciplines, with the exception of history and PE.  The slide in applications for history in the current recruitment round gives no room for complacency. Given the funding crisis, schools do not have the resources to offer more attractive terms to certain teachers anyway.

“A differential approach to pay will do nothing to improve retention and will sap the morale of existing teachers who have endured seven years of cuts to real pay while delivering a new national curriculum and new assessment methodologies across all phases.  This would be viewed as a kick in the teeth by many existing teachers. 

“Lifting the pay cap for all roles in schools would be a start but it absolutely must be fully funded by the government because school budgets are already at breaking point. Of course, recruitment and retention is not all about pay. Recently the Secretary of State has acknowledged that more needs to be done to reduce workload and we’ll be discussing this matter with him at our annual conference in Liverpool next week.”

NAHT’s Leaky Pipeline report published in November last year showed that for the fourth consecutive year, school leaders are having problems with recruitment across all roles, from teachers to senior leaders. A very high proportion (81 per cent) of teaching vacancies were difficult to fill; 63 per cent were recruited with a struggle, and respondents failed to recruit 18 per cent of roles.  

Press and Media contacts:

Steven George
NAHT Head of Press and Media
01444 472886
07970 907730

Rose Tremlett 
Senior Press Officer 
07545 354363

Email : press.office@naht.org.uk