Five-year teacher retention rate worsens, and 5 other school workforce findings

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The Department for Education has today published the latest school workforce census (November 2019). 

Schools Week has the key findings: 


1. Fewer teachers are leaving the profession …

The number of teachers working in the profession (453,813 full-time equivalents) increased by just 0.9 per cent. 

Over 43,000 FTE staff entered teaching in state-funded schools in 2019 – with 53 per cent of these being newly-qualified teachers.

The overall entrants rate was 10 per cent – a slight drop of 0.4 percentage points from the previous year. 

Of the nearly 40,000 teachers who left the profession, 84.6 per cent were “out of service” – teachers who either left or are “taking a break from teaching (e.g. career break, secondment) and who may come back as returners in a later year”.

The overall leavers rate was 9.2 per cent – slightly lower than 9.6 in 2018. 


2. … but more are gone after five years

The good news: the teachers who qualified in 2018, 85.4 per cent are still in service one year after qualification. 

This is slightly higher than the previous two years, which recorded rates of 84.7 per cent and 85.1 per cent respectively. 

The bad news: however the five-year retention rate dropped to 67.4 per cent for those who qualified in 2014, compared with 68 per cent in the previous year. 


3. Pupil teacher ratios are increasing in secondary schools 

In state-funded secondary schools, the pupil teacher ratio (PTR) has risen from 16.3 in 2018, to 16.6 – “continuing the trend of year-on-year increases seen since 2012”.

However, at primary level, the PTR has remained at 20.9 in both 2018 and 2019. 

In state-funded special schools and PRUs, PTRs are much lower, however there has been a small increase from 5.8 in 2018 to 5.9 in 2019.


4. Teacher pay is on the up (but men still take home more) 

The average full-time equivalent salary for teachers in state-funded schools was £40,537 – up from £39,500 the previous year – an increase of roughly two per cent. 

However the average salaries are higher for male teachers across all grades. 

Male classroom teachers earn on average £37,885, compared with £36,985 for their female counterparts. 

This represents around two per cent difference, however the gulf widens at headteacher level. 

Female headteachers earn an average of £68,870, while their male equivalents earn 12 per cent more at £77,362. 


5. Fewer teachers are taking sick days

Overall, the percentage of teachers off sick has fallen from 55.8 per cent in 2011, to 54 per cent in 2019. 

Of those teachers taking sickness absence, the average number of days taken has fallen, from an average of 8.2 days in 2010/11 to 7.5 days in 2018/19.

6. The squeeze on time teaching non-Ebacc subjects continues

Just 35.3 per cent of key stage 3 teaching hours were spent on non-EBacc subjects – slightly lower than the year before at 36.6 per cent.

While at key stage 4, the number of teaching hours assigned for non-EBacc subjects fell from 32.6 per cent to 32.2 per cent.

In total, 68.8 per cent of all secondary teachers taught at least one EBacc subject, with 87.8 per cent of all hours taught in EBacc subjects being taught by a teacher with a relevant post A level qualification.


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