Only 60% of teachers stay in profession over five years

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) has released a report which assesses the state of the teacher labour market in England.

The new research considers the latest trends in the profession, and examines the latest figures on how highly-qualified teachers vary across different subjects, areas in the country, and at different levels of school deprivation.

The report finds that exit rates have increased, and are particularly high early on in teachers’ careers. Only 60 per cent of teachers remained in state-funded schools five years after starting.  For ‘high-priority’ subjects like physics and maths, this five-year retention drops to just 50 per cent.

The report finds that pupil numbers have risen by around ten per cent since 2010 – while teacher numbers have remained steady. This means that pupil-to-teacher ratios have risen from around 15.5 in 2010 to nearly 17 by 2018.

Teacher training applications are down by five per cent, while training targets have been persistently missed in maths and science.

Teacher pay has declined by about ten per cent in real-terms since 2010 – but the recent announcement of pay rises of up to 3.5 per cent from September 2018 will halt this real-terms decline.

With many able to earn more outside of teaching, England faces a great challenge recruiting new graduates. In maths, average graduate salaries are £4,000 above those of teachers.

The report also found that levels of teacher quality in secondary schools vary considerably depending on the subject.

Under 50 per cent of maths and physics teachers hold a relevant degree. These subjects, with the lowest proportion of highly-qualified teachers, are also those with the greatest recruitment and retention problems.

Languages also struggle to secure teachers with relevant degrees: just 40-50 per cent hold one.

Subjects that have a greater proportion of highly-qualified teachers include those that have significantly less pressure on recruitment and retention – such as biology(78%) and English teachers (67%).

In areas outside of London, just over a third (37 per cent) of maths teachers and just under half (45 per cent) of chemistry teachers in the poorest schools had a relevant degree. In more affluent schools outside of London, the proportions are far higher for maths (51%) and chemistry (68 per cent).
Shortages of highly-qualified teachers in these poorer schools appear to be the most severe in physics. In the worst-off schools outside of London, fewer than 1 in 5 of physics teachers (17%) have a relevant degree. In more affluent schools outside of London, the figure rises significantly to just over half (52 per cent).

For the full set of report findings, click the Read More button.

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