Teacher Labour Market In England Annual Report 2023 1
23 March 2023 Teacher vacancies almost twice pre-Covid level and recruitment target likely to be missed again
A new report by NFER is calling for a long-term strategy on teacher pay to halt the growing school workforce crisis. NFER’s Teacher Labour Market in England Annual Report 2023 reveals that the number of teacher vacancies posted by schools, an indicator of staff turnover, was 93 per cent higher in the academic year up to February 2023, than at the same point in the year before the pandemic. The TeachVac data also shows that vacancies were up 37 per cent compared to 2021/22. Jack Worth, NFER School Workforce Lead and co-author of the report said: “Schools are being forced to stumble from budget to budget and strike to strike without the help of a clear strategy designed to address a worsening recruitment and retention crisis. “School leaders are increasingly resorting to the use of non-specialist teachers to plug gaps which will ultimately affect pupil attainment outcomes. “The 2023 teacher pay award should exceed 4.1 per cent – the latest forecast of the rise in average UK earnings next year – to narrow the gap between teacher pay and the wider labour market, and improve recruitment and retention. This should be accompanied by a long-term plan to improve the competitiveness of teacher pay while – crucially – ensuring schools have the funds to pay for it.” The report also warns that recruitment to initial teacher training (ITT) in 2023/24 is likely to be significantly below target. NFER projects that primary ITT and nine out of 17 secondary subjects - physics, computing, design and technology, business studies, modern foreign languages, religious education, music, drama and art and design – are expected to be 20 per cent or more below target. Other subjects such as maths, English, chemistry and geography are also at risk of under-recruiting this year, while biology, history, classics and physical education are likely to be at, or slightly above, target. This follows historically low recruitment in 2022/23. Falling retention rates and historically low teacher recruitment figures point to the deteriorating competitiveness of teaching compared to other occupations, in both pay and working conditions, which requires urgent policy action across the sector. The study highlights how the gap in real earnings growth between teachers and graduates has widened significantly since the pandemic. Median teacher pay in 2021/22 was 12 per cent lower in real terms than it was in 2010/11. This was 11 percentage points lower for teachers than for similar graduates*, a wider gap than before the pandemic. Further findings from the report show that teachers’ working hours and perceived workload have fallen since 2015/16 but remain higher than for similar graduates. Reducing teacher workload has been a policy objective for government in recent years because high workload was the reason most-often cited for teachers wanting to leave the profession. Despite the pandemic leading to a widespread adoption of remote working in the graduate workforce, teachers’ opportunities to work from home remain very limited. In 2021/22, nearly half (44 per cent) of similar graduates worked mainly from home, up from 15 per cent in 2018/19. The lack of availability of home working could represent a threat to the relative attractiveness of teaching.  The report also makes the following further recommendations: The government should continue to remain focussed on reducing teacher workload by supporting schools in implementing the recommendations of the Teacher Workload Advisory Groups. The government should fund further research to better understand teachers’ flexible working preferences and use the findings to revisit the 2019 Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, ensuring it reflects the new post-pandemic realities of working life. Given the demand for flexible working arrangements, school leaders should explore what options may work for their schools.
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Cost Of Living 1
15 March 2023 New research to look at the real impact of the cost-of-living crisis in schools
In autumn 2023, NFER, in collaboration with ASK Research, will be publishing new research which will provide timely and authoritative findings enabling us to quantify how the cost of living crisis is impacting schools.
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Sutton Trust Tutoring 1
09 March 2023 NFER statement on The Sutton Trusts’ new report on the tutoring landscape
Following the publication of The Sutton Trusts’ new report that sets out the latest trends in the use of private and in-school tutoring, NFER’s Head of Classroom Practice and Workforce, Dr Ben Styles, said: “It is great to see that tutoring funded by the National Tutoring Programme (NTP) has resulted in a narrowing of the ‘tutoring gap’ between disadvantaged pupils and their peers, whose parents can afford private tuition. “However, as this reports states, more research is needed, in particular around the most effective models of tuition. As part of our evaluation work on tutoring, NFER has identified at least 15 factors that might impact on its efficacy. “As teachers continue to deploy tutoring in schools, they need evidence on what kind of models work well to ensure this valuable resource is not squandered.”
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Disadvantage Attainment Gap
08 March 2023 Action is needed now to overcome challenges with measuring the disadvantage attainment gap
Transitional arrangements brought in to ease the roll out of the Universal Credit system will make it harder to ascertain if the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers is narrowing. These transitional arrangements are affecting the composition of the disadvantaged group and will therefore make it increasingly difficult to understand how the disadvantage attainment gap is changing from 2024 onwards. Furthermore, the arrangements, originally introduced in 2018, have recently been extended by two years to March 2025. This means their impact on measuring the gap will be felt for even longer. Following a National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) report in 2022, which investigated the changing landscape of pupil disadvantage, NFER hosted a roundtable of experts to discuss the implications of the arrangements and possible policy solutions. NFER has produced a new report to highlight key insights from the roundtable discussion. The report highlights that action is needed now to ensure we can hold the government to account for progress in reducing the gap and improving outcomes for pupils from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Based on the roundtable discussion and the research, NFER recommends: The government should explore the feasibility of establishing a household income-based measure of disadvantage for the future. The government should explore the feasibility of introducing a ‘continuity measure’ of disadvantage from 2024 onwards. This would be based on the underlying eligibility criteria for Free School Meals (FSM) and remove the effect of the transitional arrangements. The government should consider replacing the current rank-based disadvantaged pupils’ attainment gap measure with a simpler metric based on average point scores. NFER Research Director, Jenna Julius, said: “Schools are facing greater pressures due to the cost-of-living crisis, and we must ensure that there are well-targeted and effective strategies to help close the longstanding disadvantage attainment gap. “An unintended consequence of the government’s roll-out of Universal Credit means it will become increasingly difficult to understand how the performance of disadvantaged pupils is evolving over the next decade.    “Action is needed to ensure the government can be held to account for progress in reducing the large and long-standing attainment gap and improving the educational outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.”
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Sir Jim Rose
14 February 2023 Statement: Sir Jim Rose
NFER is saddened to learn of the news of the passing of Sir Jim Rose. Sir Jim was NFER’s President from 2008 until 2022, where he brought his vast experience and knowledge of the world of education to offer support and guidance to the Foundation.
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