Nearly a third of new teachers leave the profession within five years, figures show

The latest data included in a parliamentary answer reveals the alarming drop-out rate since the coalition government was formed in 2010

Richard Vaughan

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Nearly a third of the teachers who entered the profession in 2010 had dropped out within five years, the latest figures show.

School standards minister Nick Gibb revealed the extent to which teachers were fleeing the job in response to a parliamentary question last week.

According to the data, 30 per cent of the teachers who were new to the profession when the coalition government was formed in 2010 had left by the end of last year.

The stats were published following a written question by Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland.

Perhaps more worrying was the fact that 13 per cent of newly qualified teachers had given up on their careers within the first year. The proportion then rises to 18 per cent after just two years, with nearly a quarter (23 per cent) leaving within three years.

Workload and long hours 'force teachers out'

The numbers reflect the growing disillusionment among teachers toward their day-to-day work, with workload, long hours and increased pressure cited as the biggest complaints.

In April this year, a survey by the NASUWT teaching union revealed that 74 per cent of the teaching profession had “seriously considered” leaving their jobs in the previous 12 months.

At the time, Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said many teachers wanted to leave because the profession was in “crisis”.

Kevin Courtney, general secretary of the NUT, said it was “deeply regrettable” that such high numbers were leaving teaching, and he called for ministers to take “immediate action”.

“They [ministers] need to face the fact that schools have become more difficult and less rewarding places in which to work. Intense workload and the demands of high-stakes testing‎ create an environment where job satisfaction is becoming rarer,” Mr Courtney said.

“As a result of staffing problems, many schools are relying on desperate solutions: overuse of supply teacher agencies, and asking teachers to cover roles outside their specialism. The quality of provision is being lowered - and ministers must take responsibility for this.”    

The Department for Education said in a statement that teaching remained an “attractive career” and that more teachers are entering the classroom than choosing to leave it or retire.

“Teacher retention has been broadly stable for 20 years and the annual average salaries for teachers in the UK are also greater than the OECD average, and higher than many of Europe’s high-performing education systems like Finland, Norway or Sweden,” a DfE spokesperson said.

“We recognise teachers’ concerns and are continuing to work with the sector to find constructive solutions to this issue.”

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Richard Vaughan

Richard has been writing about politics, policy and technology in education for nearly five years after joining TES in 2008. He joined TES from the building press having been a reporter and then later news editor at the Architects’ Journal. Before then he studied at Cardiff University’s school of journalism. Richard can be found tweeting at @richardvaughan1

Find me on Twitter @RichardVaughan1

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