Comparative analysis of teacher attrition rates in England and Wales

Henry Faulkner-Ellis and Jack Worth

21 September 2022

NFER, supported by the Nuffield Foundation, use newly available teacher census data to make robust teacher attrition rate comparisons between England and Wales. We compare the attrition rates of teachers in Wales with the attrition rates of teachers in schools in areas of England that have similar economic and contextual characteristics to Wales.

The study aims to test the hypothesis that teacher retention rates are higher in Wales than in England due to the different education policy approaches taken since devolution two decades ago. However, the research finds mixed evidence in support of the hypothesis, suggesting that approaches to education policy making taken in England and Wales since devolution do not appear to be associated with a significant uniform effect on teacher retention.

Key Findings

  • The leaving rate among secondary school classroom teachers is 0.6 percentage points higher in England compared to in Wales, while among primary school classroom teachers, there is a difference of 0.6 percentage points in leaving rates with a lower leaving rate in England
  • Retention rates for teachers with more than 20 years of experience in Wales are higher compared to their counterparts in comparator primary and secondary schools in England.
  • Part-time teachers have significantly higher retention rates in Wales compared to comparator schools in England, and the fact that substantially more of the teaching workforce in Wales works part-time suggests that greater attention is paid in Wales to making part-time working opportunities available for teachers
  • Comparable data on teacher working hours and perceptions of working hours in the two countries show that teachers in Wales work fewer working hours per week on average and have slightly better perceptions of their working hours compared to England.

Related Titles

Secondary teacher retention is higher in Wales than England, but lower among primary - Press Release
Teacher Labour Market in Wales Annual Report 2022  - Publication
Teacher Labour Market in England Annual Report 2022 -  Publication