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Education Committee to probe why so many teachers are quitting

The Education Committee will question experts from think tanks to understand how turnover in the teaching workforce compares with other professions in England and with education sectors in other countries.

The cross-party Committee begins its investigation tomorrow in an attempt to help the DfE develop strategies for retaining teachers.

At the Conservative Party conference Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a number of policies and financial incentives designed to encourage new entrants to teaching and retain current staff.

An inquiry into why teachers are quitting begins on November 14
Credit: iStock.com

Daniel Kebede, General Secretary of the NEU, said they were unlikely to work, commenting there was ‘no magic wand’ to create the numbers needed to fulfil sufficient needs.

Mr Kebede commented: “The recruitment and retention crisis is caused in the main by excessive workload and below inflation pay. This is a root and branch problem not solved by bursaries, ‘golden hellos’ and other Whitehall gimmicks.”

The Education Committee will hear that the teaching profession is seeing increasing levels of churn. 9.7% of teachers left the workforce in 2021/22; 91% of that number left to pursue a different career.

DfE research from 2021 found that 24% of teachers left the profession within three years of qualifying. In a 2018 OECD study, England was shown to have had a higher proportion of teachers who said they wanted to leave the profession compared to an average across the 38 member states.

MPs will question witnesses on how the Government should develop an effective workforce plan, and whether best practice or strategies could be learned from other public services such as the NHS.

There will be questions on how the career development, pay and workloads of teachers in England broadly compare with other sectors to see what lessons could be applied to the education sector.

The cross-party Committee will also be interested to hear about the effectiveness of recent interventions from the Department for Education such as the School Workload Reduction Toolkit and the Education Staff Wellbeing Charter, which promoted flexible working and access to mental health and wellbeing resources.

Evidence already heard by the Committee has suggested that among contributors to workloads are providing pastoral care for pupils, preparing for Ofsted inspections, data collection and marking. MPs have also heard growing concern about non-specialist teachers filling in for lessons in subjects such as physics and maths due to staff shortages across the country.

Evidence session   

Teacher recruitment, training and retention

Tuesday 14 November, 10:00, Committee Room 15   

Watch live on parliamentlive.tv   

Witnesses from 10:00:   

  • Philip Nye, Institute for Government 
  • Dr Luke Sibieta, Institute for Fiscal Studies
  • Katie Waldegrave, Now Teach

From 10:45:

  • Becky Allen, Teacher Tapp 
  • Becky Francis, Education Endowment Foundation 
  • Sinéad Mc Brearty, Education support 
  • Jack Worth, National Foundation for Educational Research

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