Frustrated staff seek creative freedom

21st January 2000 at 00:00
TEACHERS who quit want a job that demands more initiative and creativity, according to new research, write Jon Slater and Warwick Mansell.

Nearly two-thirds of those who left teaching said they had failed to fulfil their creative aspirations, says the study, backed by the Teacher Training Agency. The findings will increase concern over the effect on teacher morale of policies such as the literacy and numeracy strategies, which eroded professional freedom.

The Teacher Supply and Retention in London project, at the University of North London, interviewed 458 teachers leaving their posts, of whom 68 were leaving teaching altogether.

"More than three out of five teachers who are taking up other work do not find the fulfilment of their creative and idependent aspirations in teaching," the report, to be published next month, will say.

The research suggests these factors are more important than pay, mentioned by just 38 per cent. Other advantages of alternative jobs included flexible hours (cited by 55 per cent) and working with adults (54 per cent).

The findings come as more teachers than ever are leaving for other jobs. In 1998, more than 3,000 teachers in state schools quit for other work. In 1993, the figure was just 2,000.

Worries over recruitment will be compounded by new figures from analyst John Howson, which show London schools are still struggling to find headteachers. More than half of those in the inner city have to advertise at least twice to find a suitable applicant.

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