Commenting on the government’s school workforce statistics published today (Thursday 27 June 2019), Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“These figures must serve as a blunt warning for the government. Teacher retention rates have declined every year for a decade. Only two thirds of the teachers who qualified in 2013 are still in service after 5 years. More and more teachers are reducing their working hours or leaving as unsustainable workloads take their toll.
“Particularly worryingly, the number of secondary school teachers has decreased again this year – as secondary school pupil numbers continue to rise. This has already resulted in larger secondary school class sizes, and unless the government takes action, the situation can only get worse.
“We welcomed the DfE’s recruitment and retention strategy, especially the Early Careers Framework (ECF). Delivered well, the ECF could help new teachers to build their confidence and hone their skills, providing the foundations for a successful career in teaching, and creating the school leaders of the future. But these figures show just how vital it is that this strategy works.
“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 more is needed to create a truly positive proposition for a career in teaching. The essential components include competitive pay, attractive and flexible working conditions, a healthy work-life balance, opportunities for career-long continuing professional development, and lower risk ways of holding schools to account. Ultimately it is very simple: pay people properly and treat them well.”
Press and Media contacts:
NAHT Head of Press and Media
Senior Press Officer