NFER research puts focus on teacher retention


Teaching staff who work longer hours are more inclined to stay in the profession for longer, while school Ofsted ratings play a key role in staff retention, new research has found.

Finding from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) have highlighted several factors that have an influence on teacher recruitment and retention.

A range of data sets were analysed, including school workforce census data, the Labour Force survey and the Understanding Society survey covering the period from 2010 to 2016.

The Teacher Dynamics in England Research study provides an overview of the factors as to why teachers may leave the profession.

Here, we’ve detailed some of the key findings and discuss why they are influential on teacher recruitment and retention.

The role of Ofsted outcomes

Ofsted findings play a pivotal role in the decision making process of whether to stay in one school or move on, according to the research.

The NFER research shows that a higher proportion of teachers move schools when the Ofsted rating is lower, with the highest proportion of primary and secondary school teachers moving on from schools rated ‘inadequate’.

This echoes research from Sam Sims at the FFT Education Datalab which suggested that schools that are downgraded have greater staff retention issues.

Teaching hours are important

Teaching staff who work long hours do not have a higher probability of leaving the profession and are more inclined to stay in teaching.

Other research from Sims found that it is not necessarily the number of working hours that cause teachers to consider their future, but more issues relating to workloads.

Moving from state schools to private

Of all teaching staff that left state schools in the study period, 33% made the move into the private sector.

Meanwhile, 2% became teaching assistants and 8% took non-teaching roles in the school environment, with retirement accounting for 30% of those who left during the study period.

Teacher satisfaction is high

Close to 80% of teachers reported that they were satisfied in their roles, which is a similar figure to those in the nursing and policing professions.

The full report from the NFER can be accessed here.