Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Teaching is one of the most rewarding careers imaginable, and this survey reflects many of the reasons why it should be attractive to many. Teachers are graduates who have many career choices open to them. They go into teaching with passion, because they care and want to make a difference. But for many the enormous privilege of helping young people learn and grow becomes outweighed by the difficult daily reality of the funding, workload and accountability pressures facing schools.
“All these things are related, and all need addressing if the government is to turn theoretical teachers into an experienced and dedicated workforce. Right now, workload, accountability and insufficient funding is a three-headed dragon that is turning a dream job into a nightmare for many school leaders and their teams. With commitment and proper funding that dragon can be slayed.
“We have lacked that commitment from government and therefore teacher recruitment has been a real struggle, and more and more teachers are leaving the profession. A recent NAHT survey showed that 77% of school leaders found recruitment a struggle last year, whilst 67% said members of their staff had left for reasons other than retirement. There is a clearly a disconnect between the attractiveness of teaching as a profession in theory and the reality of the job.
“Recently we asked our members what they felt would most ease the recruitment and retention crisis in schools. 75% said a better work-life balance, 64% said better pay and conditions, and 63% said a less punitive accountability system. A real-terms increase in school funding was the top answer, from 82% of respondents.
“We know the appetite to enter the profession exists. Match that with a good work life balance, professional respect and appropriate pay and the rest will fall into place.”
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