Teachers leaving faster than ever – and 10 other school workforce findings

The Department for Education has published the 2016 School Workforce Census figures this morning.

Schools Week has the key findings:



1. Lowest teacher entry rate in five years

The rate of qualified teachers entering the profession is at its lowest since 2011 (read more on that here).

In 2016, 10.1 per cent of all teachers were new entrants, compared to 10.4 per cent in 2015. The total number of new teachers also dropped in this time, down from 45,120 to 43,830 last year.

But there’s better news on the teacher leaving front – the rate of teachers dropping out of the profession fell slightly from 10 per cent in 2015, to 9.9 per cent last year (a drop of 0.1 percentage point).

However, the fall in new entrants is larger (0.3 percentage points) – suggesting that the recruitment crisis is deepening.


2. Teachers are continuing to leave faster than ever

The percentage of teachers remaining in the profession after one year has remained stable over the past few years – at 87 per cent.

But after three years, teachers are leaving faster than ever before.

Figures show 74 per cent of teachers that started in 2013 were still in post three years later – down from 75 per cent recorded in last year’s workforce census, and the lowest figure since records began in 1996.


3. There’s been a 7% rise in unqualified teachers

The number of teachers without qualified teacher status (QTS) has risen from 22,500 full-time equivalents in 2015, to 24,000 last year (a seven per cent rise).

Unqualified teachers now make up 5.3 per cent of the workforce, compared to 4.9 per cent in 2015. However the percentage of unqualified teachers working towards their QTS is up – from 20 per cent in 2015, to 21 per cent last year.

… but how does that compare by school type?

The workforce census shows that academies have a higher proportion of unqualified teachers than local authority maintained schools.

Just 3 per cent of teachers in maintained primaries are unqualified, compared to 4.2 per cent in primary academy converters, 5.9 per cent in sponsor-led primary academies, and 12.3 per cent in primary free schools.

Meanwhile, 4.9 per cent of teachers at maintained secondaries were unquailed, compared to 5.4 per cent in secondary academy converters, 9.6 per cent in sponsor-led secondaries, and 11.3 per cent in secondary free schools.


4. More teaching assistants, but support staff on wane

The overall number of teachers has increased slightly between 2015 to 2016 (up by 0.1 per cent).

However there has been a much bigger increase in teaching assistants – up by 1 per cent over the same period of time.

But the rise was all in nursery and primary schools – up by 1.8 per cent. The number of teaching assistants in secondary schools actually decreased by 4.2 per cent.

Meanwhile, the overall number of support staff has fallen, by 1.3 per cent between 2015 and 2016. The nursery/primary sector had a 0.8 per cent decrease, with the number of support staff falling by 1.6 per cent within secondary schools.

The data doesn’t give an explanation for the fall in support staff – but it follows an increasing number of stories showing schools, academy trusts and local authorities all pursuing redundancies to meet stretched budgets.


5. More women now work in schools…

The workforce census shows that the percentage of women teachers has continued to rise – up by 0.1 percentage point to 73.9 per cent last year.

This varies widely by sector, though. 84.6 per cent of nursery and primary teachers are women (15.4 per cent men), compared to 62.5 per cent in secondaries (37.5 per cent men).

Overall, women actually make up over four fifths (80.2 per cent) of the whole school workforce.


6. … but men are paid more (in secondaries)

Across all secondary schools, men are paid more than women.

The median average salary for men in maintained secondaries is £38,300, compared to £37,900 for women.

At secondary academies, both genders are paid less – but there is still a disparity between the sexes. The median average salary for men was £37,900, compared to £37,100 for women.


7. The workforce appears to be getting younger, as number of older teachers plummets

Under 30s now make up nearly a quarter of the teacher workforce at 24.9 per cent – compared to 23 per cent in 2010.

The percentage of teachers aged 30 to 40, and 40 to 50, has also risen (see table below) over that time.

But the percentage of teachers aged between 50 and 60 has had the largest change – it’s actually fallen from 21.7 per cent in 2010, to 15.6 per cent last year.

However, the figures show that the number of teachers taking retirement throughout the 2015-16 financial year is acutally lower than previous years.

On average, teachers in primaries are slightly younger than their secondary school counterparts.


8. Part-time working is getting more popular

The percentage of part-time teachers has been increasing since 2010. Part-time teachers made up 23.2 per cent of the workforce last year, compared to 22.7 per cent in 2015.

More than a quarter (27.8 per cent) of women teachers worked part-time, compared to 9 per cent of men.

While part-time women teachers has risen from 25.7 per cent in 2010, to 27.8 per cent last year, part-time working amongst male teachers has dropped from 9.3 per cent in 2010, to 9 per cent last year.

Encouraging schools to offer more incentives to keep staff in flexible working – such as ‘keep in touch day’s and cash retainers – has been touted as a potential solution to teacher supply concerns. However part-time working has caused some schools problems.


9. Academies pay staff less than council schools (unless you’re in leadership role)

The figures show that the average pay for staff in maintained nursery/primary schools was £33,800, compared to £32,600 for equivalent teachers in primary academies.

This difference was also prevalent in secondary sector – with the average staff salary £37,300 for maintained secondaries, and £36,400 for teachers in secondary academies.

But interestingly, school leaders were paid more in academies. The average salary for leadership group teachers in maintained secondaries was £63,100, compared to £63,200 in secondary academies.


10. Soaring number of secondary schools with vacancies

Government exploring national teacher vacancy website

The DfE said the teacher vacancy rate remains low, and has been around one per cent or below (for all teaching posts) since 2000.

However, the percentage of schools with at least one advertised vacancy or temporary-filled post was at 12.3 per cent.

That rose from 23 per cent of secondary schools in 2015, to 27 per cent last year. Primaries with at least one vacancy also went up from 6.9 per cent in 2015, to 8.9 per cent last year.


11. Teachers are taking fewer sick days than ever before

A total of 54 per cent of teachers during 2015-16 had at least one sick day in the year, compared to 56 per cent in 2014-15.

The average number of days taken as sick has been falling slowly – from 9.9 days in 2000, to 7.5 days in 2015-16.

A total of 2.16 million days were lost to sickness absence last year – which is lower than in all previous years since records began in 2000 (that equates to an average of 4.1 sick days per teachers).


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