Teachers: Resignations

Department for Education written question – answered at on 1 December 2016.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Labour, East Ham

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment she has made of the reasons why teachers in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools leave the profession within five years of entering it; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The proportion of teachers leaving the profession within five years of entering it has remained broadly stable since 1996, as shown in Table 8 of the School Workforce Census 2015: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/school-workforce-in-england-november-2015. Around 7 out of 10 teachers are still employed in state-funded schools five years after qualifying. The way in which statistics are reported does not distinguish between primary and secondary teachers.

Research on why teachers leave the profession consistently cites the same top factors, which include unnecessary workload and poor pupil behaviour. It is vital for schools to be able to retain good teachers and therefore we have made policy interventions in these areas that matter most to the profession.

We established three independent review groups made up of serving teachers and head teachers to tackle the three biggest issues the 2014 Workload Challenge showed were most burdensome for teachers. We have listened to what they said and accepted all their recommendations for Government.

Their reports published on 26 March were welcomed by the sector and include clear messages that can empower classroom teachers and school leaders to challenge unproductive practice. We are continuing to work with teachers and their representatives on how to effectively embed the principles in the reports, and help make a culture change so teachers can focus on what really matters.

We have conducted the first biennial Teacher Workload Survey. A report of the findings will be published once finalised. Results from this survey, and those in future years, will help us track teacher workload so that further action can be taken if needed.

We commissioned a working group on developing behaviour management content for initial teacher training (ITT) chaired by Tom Bennett which reported earlier this year. The recommendations of the group were mainly accepted by government and the specific content relating to behaviour management is now included in the Framework of Content for ITT which has been available for providers to use since July this year.

There is a second behaviour review in progress, also being undertaken by Tom Bennett, which is focussed around behaviour management in schools with a particular focus on leadership, culture and systems used to tackle disruptive pupil behaviour. The review will report and make recommendations early in the New Year.

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