A National Audit Office (NAO) report has revealed that more teachers are leaving their jobs before retirement than in the past five years, suggesting that Government efforts to retain teachers are not effective.
Nearly 35,000 teachers left their jobs in 2016 for a variety of reasons other than taking retirement. The figure equates to nearly 8% of the national workforce.
Figures by the NAO show that the number of teachers in England’s state schools increased by 15,500 between 2010 and 2016. However, over the same period the number of secondary school teachers fell by 10,800.
The report has suggested that secondary schools are now facing real challenges to keep pace with rising pupil numbers.
Discussing the report, head of the NAO, Amyas Morse said: “Schools are facing real challenges in retaining and developing their teachers, with growing pupil numbers and tighter budgets.
“The trends over time and variation between schools are concerning, and there is a risk that the pressure on teachers will grow.
“Since having enough high-quality teachers is essential to the effective operation of the school system, these are issues that the Department for Education needs to address urgently.”
Responding to the report, a spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “We continue to invest significant sums in teacher recruitment with £1.3bn up to 2020 being invested in teacher bursaries to attract the best and brightest into the profession.
“We recognise there are challenges facing schools and we are taking significant steps to address them.
“We have established a £75m fund to support high-quality professional development in those schools where teacher retention is an issue, and we are making it easier to advertise vacancies.
“In addition, we are working with Ofsted to tackle workload and will continue to engage with the profession to better understand the specific challenges and how we can address them.”