Three new initiatives have been launched today to improve teacher retention including a large trial to test the effectiveness of different training routes into the profession.
The Education Endowment Foundation has commissioned a study of 350 disadvantaged primary schools comparing the retention of teachers who trained through Teach First, university-led courses or school-based routes such as Schools Direct.
The government-funded foundation will also assess a programme to improve retention rates for specialist physics teachers
And it will commission new pilot studies to examine how to best support early career teachers.
The EEF is warning that teacher recruitment and retention, particularly in the most disadvantaged schools and areas, is one of the most critical issues facing the English education system.
The foundation highlighted how government targets for teacher recruitment have been missed for six consecutive years, and that third of new teachers leave within the first five years of joining the profession.
EEF chief executive Sir Kevan Collins said: “We know that high-quality teaching is the thing that makes the biggest difference to young people’s academic grades. Yet recruiting and retaining teachers – particularly to disadvantaged schools – is challenging.
“If we don’t get more great teachers to join – and more importantly – stay in the profession over the next few years, it will be the poorest pupils who lose out the most."
He said the three studies would provide the government with much-needed evidence in how to train and keep effective teachers in the profession.
Teachers in Disadvantaged Primary Schools is a study which will be run by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).
It will compare three different routes into teaching and the impact they have on primary school pupils’ maths results and teacher retention. The three groups the researchers will look at are:
- Newly-qualified teachers (NQTs) who have trained through Teach First and are in their second year of training.
- NQTs who have been trained the previous year in university-led routes.
- NQTs who have been trained through other school-based routes like School Direct.
A new study focused on retaining physics teachers is being funded through a partnership between the EEF and Wellcome.
Three hundred secondary schools will take part in the trial of KEEP Teaching, a programme run by the Institute of Physics that aims to improve retention rates for physics-specialist teachers.
This will extends the induction period for newly qualified teachers from one to two years and provide funding for increased time off-timetable and mentoring.
The EEF is supporting the introduction and evaluation of the framework in schools by piloting three different ways of supporting early career teachers.
In one, the Chartered College of Teaching will provide online training for early-career teachers and their mentors.
A new organisation that has come out of the merger between Ambition School Institute and the Institute for Teaching will run two further pilots to increase the effectiveness of mentoring.
The EEF said the first will focus on training the mentor and the second will provide additional support to the early career teacher.