Third of teachers leaving the profession within 5 years

The proportion of teachers remaining in the profession after five years has decreased, new DfE figures show

Catherine Lough

Teacher recruitment: Almost a third of teachers quit the profession within five years, new DfE figures show

Almost a third of teachers leave the classroom within five years of qualifying, new statistics from the Department for Education show.

Statistics published by the DfE reveal that of teachers who qualified in 2014, just 67.4 per cent were still in service after five years in 2019.

Related: Quarter of teachers 'may quit, mainly due to workload'

Background: Teachers quit because they find workload ‘worse than expected’

Workload: At least 70% of teachers working over contracted hours

This is lower than the five-year retention rate of 68 per cent the previous year. 

However, this year shows the first increase of the one-year retention rate for nearly a decade. Out of teachers who qualified in 2018, 85.4 per cent were still teaching in 2019, which is a slightly higher retention rate than the previous year, when 85.1 per cent of those who had qualified the year before remained in the profession.

Fewer teachers still in the profession after five years

One-year retention rates had declined slightly each year since 2011, with this year being the first increase.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “The government has recently made several attempts to improve teacher recruitment, with the Early Careers Framework and an increased starting salary. This is welcome.

"But they are failing to pay equal attention to the other side of the equation – teacher retention. More and more teachers are leaving the profession, as workload, accountability and the funding crisis take their toll. This means all the efforts to increase the numbers of new recruits ultimately fails to increase overall teacher numbers.

“Instead it means that the UK has one of the least experienced teaching workforces in the world. This has a knock-on impact on school leadership. Fewer teachers are finding a long-term teaching career viable and so fewer are aspiring to leadership.

“If the government is serious about tackling the teacher shortage crisis and ensuring there are enough great teachers for every school, they must pay as much attention to retention as to recruitment.”

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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