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Problems with teacher recruitment and retention hit disadvantaged pupils hardest, say school leaders

Today the Nuffield Foundation publishes research which says that secondary school pupils in the most disadvantaged schools are being hit hardest by maths teacher shortages in England.

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, today’s graduates are attracted to other professions, and current teachers are leaving in search of other careers.

“England is alone amongst leading OECD countries in paying teachers less each year, in real terms. Budget cuts mean that pay rises and professional training are not keeping pace with teachers’ expectations. They don’t ask for much but they are getting even less.  The government must make the changes necessary to ensure a workforce that can deliver the best education for all. This should be the focus of all our attention, to attract and retain teachers, pay them properly, treat them well and respect their need for a proper work-life balance.”

NAHT’s ‘Leaky pipeline’ report revealed that, in the last year, two thirds (66 per cent) of school leaders said they were aware of some of their staff having left the teaching profession, for reasons other than retirement. The top two reasons cited were workload (84 per cent of respondents mentioned this) and achieving a better work-life balance (83 per cent of respondents mentioned this).

Mr Whiteman concluded: ““Despite four years of warnings by NAHT the recruitment crisis continues unabated. 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.”

Press and Media contacts:

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

Rose Tremlett 
Senior Press Officer 
07545 354363

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