Dawson McLean, Jack Worth and Henry Faulkner-Ellis
23 March 2023
NFER’s annual Teacher Labour Market report monitors the progress the education system in England is making towards meeting the teacher supply challenge by measuring the key indicators of teacher supply and working conditions.
This fifth annual report highlights how the teacher recruitment and retention challenge in England has intensified significantly since the pandemic. Historically low recruitment into initial teacher training and falling retention rates point towards a deteriorating attractiveness of teaching compared to other occupations and affirms that urgent policy action is needed across the sector to address the teacher supply challenge.
- Last year’s recruitment to initial teacher training was substantially below the estimated number of teachers required to ensure adequate staffing levels in schools. Based on applications made so far this year, recruitment for the current cycle is likely to be little better than last year, while the number of teacher vacancies posted by schools has doubled since pre-pandemic.
- A key driver of falling recruitment and retention is teacher pay, which has fallen in real terms since 2010 and has lost competitiveness with the graduate workforce and the wider labour market.
- High teacher workload has seen some improvement in recent years. However, teachers’ hours worked and perceived workload remain higher than for similar graduates outside teaching.
- Teachers’ ability to work from home, a key flexible working arrangement and feature of post-pandemic working life, remains very limited. This may constitute a further competitive threat while the prevalence of home working in the workforce outside teaching remains high.