Recruitment crisis: Two-thirds of school leaders aware of staff 'quitting prematurely’

15th November 2017 at 00:03
Proportion of school leaders saying retention is a problem triples in three years

Two-thirds of school leaders have had staff who quit teaching prematurely, a new survey has revealed.

The NAHT heads’ union found the proportion of school leaders citing retention as one of the key factors contributing to their inability to fill posts has nearly tripled in three years.

The Commons' Public Accounts Committee is today holding a hearing on teacher retention.

The NAHT has sent a letter to all the members of the committee ahead of the hearing, to share the initial findings of its latest recruitment and retention survey. The full survey will be published next Friday.

According to the letter, 66 per cent of school leaders in the survey said they were aware of some of their staff having left the teaching profession before retirement age.

The top two reasons given for leaving were workload (referred to by 84 per cent of respondents) and achieving a better work-life balance (83 per cent of respondents).

When asked why they were struggling to fill teaching posts, 44 per cent of respondents cited the number of teachers leaving the profession as one of the top reasons – nearly three times higher than in 2014, when only 15 per cent gave that reason.

“Too many teachers leave the profession before their time is up," Paul Whiteman, the NAHT’s general secretary, says in the letter. "Consequently, the UK teaching population is one of the youngest in the OECD. Experienced teachers are a vital component of a well-functioning system and we are just not hanging onto enough of them."

He added: “Low pay, high workload and stress are the main ingredients of the recruitment and retention crisis currently gripping the UK. All three are the responsibility of the government and all three must be solved urgently.”

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