This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper provides information on the recruitment and retention of teachers in England, including Government initiatives to increase teacher supply. The briefing also gives an overview of attempts to reduce teacher workload.Jump to full report >>
The overall number of teachers has kept pace with increasing pupil numbers to date, but it has been argued that there are growing signs of shortages, particularly in certain geographic areas and in certain subjects. While the recruitment of initial teacher trainees was above target in each year from 2006-07 to 2011-12, it has been below target in each year since, with wide variations across subjects. In addition, the number of full-time teacher vacancies and temporarily filled posts have both risen since 2011.
Pupil numbers are expected to continue rising, with the number of secondary school pupils projected to increase by 19% between 2017 and 2026. This, along with other factors such as the Government’s ambition for more pupils to take the English Baccalaureate combination of GCSE subjects, means that pressure on teacher recruitment could increase further in the coming years.
There are a number of financial incentives aimed at encouraging recruitment to initial teacher training, including bursaries and scholarships for trainees in certain subjects. In addition, recent Governments have undertaken a range of initiatives aimed both at increasing the recruitment of new and returning teachers, and at improving the retention of existing teachers by making the profession more attractive. The initiatives, which are outlined in section three of the briefing, include (but are not limited to):
The current and past governments have also highlighted efforts to reduce teacher workload as a means of encouraging teacher retention. In October 2014, the Coalition Government launched the Workload Challenge – a survey asking teachers for ways to reduce workload. A number of initiatives and commitments followed on from this, including:
Section four of the briefing provides more information on teacher workload. Section five briefly summarises selected reports on teacher recruitment and retention that have been published since the start of 2016.
Further information on the training of teachers, including the different training routes and the financial support available to trainees, is available in Library Briefing Paper 6710, Initial teacher training in England.