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NAHT responds to the latest NFER recruitment and retention research comparing teaching, nursing and police

The National Foundation for Educational Research today (Tuesday 20 March) releases a new report comparing recruitment and retention figures for teaching, nursing and the police.

The report finds that teachers work the joint highest number of hours annually and have the joint lowest average hourly pay of all three professions. And despite finding that teacher satisfaction levels are relatively high, it does acknowledge a retention crisis.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, commented:

“Anyone working in schools knows how rewarding it can be. 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 with teachers working the joint highest number of hours annually, with the joint lowest average hourly pay, there is a real danger of them burning out.

“This report shows that teachers are more likely to leave their profession than nurses or police officers – 12.3% per year, compared to 9.9% for nurses and 7.7% for police. While 78% of teachers say they are satisfied with their jobs, 47% said they were unhappy with their amount of leisure time.

“Workload is a huge issue for teachers. NFER state that teachers who leave appear to be motivated by reduced working hours and more opportunities for flexible working. And that, despite popular belief, the long hours that teachers work during term time substantially exceed the amount of extra holiday time they may receive. Unfortunately many are finding the balance unworkable, and more and more great educators are simply tapping out.”

James Bowen, director of NAHT Edge, said: “The DfE’s own data shows that almost 1 in 3 teachers leave within 5 years of qualifying, and EPI research shows that more than half (52%) of teachers have less than 10 years’ experience. These are people that the profession can ill-afford to lose. Not only is the profession becoming less experienced, we are losing excellent teachers who have the potential to become school leaders in the future.”

Paul Whiteman continued: “Teachers’ real average hourly pay has seen a substantial fall over the last decade – 15% compared to 4% and 11% for nurses and police officers. The case for more money for schools and a lift of the 1% pay cap is overwhelming – and urgent.

“Teachers, nurses and the police are all vitally important to this country, our children, and to the future. We shouldn’t have to compare how badly treated they are; their true value should be reflected in their pay and conditions.

“NAHT explained the issues around workload in our oral evidence to the STRB last week, and have submitted a joint union 5% pay claim to begin to redress the real terms cuts to pay.”

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