Wednesday 01 August 2018

Teacher Recruitment and Retention Crisis

You’re feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders. You just want to come home from work, get a cuppa and put your feet up. Instead you work late into the night preparing for tomorrow's lesson or completing meaningless tasks that you see no benefit.


Schools in England are in a state of emergency, as the Government fail to persuade disillusioned teachers to stay in the profession, says The Guardian (2018). Moreover, with negative perceptions of the job, applications to teacher training are on a downward spiral. In January 2018, the Department of Education (DfE) received extensive criticism for their disjointed effort to tackle teacher shortage and retention. The decline in teachers within the profession is due to immense workload and stress, caused by the unrealistic targets set for teachers by the government.

Pressures applied from Ofsted, The Office for Standards in Education, due to poor ratings recorded in schools across England, has increased the level of stress teachers are experiencing from the Government. With ever changing policies issued by the Department of Education, teachers struggle to keep up with the rapid pace of change and often fall behind in areas such as classroom management and lesson preparation. School leaders are punished should their school fall under par in their Ofsted inspection, therefore further responsibility lies on the shoulders of all teachers to deliver for their acting Head Teacher  (The Guardian, 2018).

Secondary Schools Face Crisis

In 2016, primary schools in England reported a modest increase in primary teacher recruitment by around 3.5% from 2010. However, with a 4.9% fall in secondary teacher recruitment and an increase of secondary school pupils set at 19.4% between 2017 and 2025, change is imperative (Personnel Today, 2018). By 2024, it is forecast that 8,000 extra teachers are required for the primary sector alone,  to meet demands despite further secondary requirements. Yet it has been reported that in 2015/16 only half of teaching vacancies in England were filled with qualified teachers whom had adequate experience and expertise. As class sizes are set to swell against a backdrop of falling teacher recruitment and retention, the Government must intervene in order to curb the potential for impact on children's education.

Teachers currently working in the profession cited workload as their main reason for leaving the profession. However, it has been found that officials spent “15 times more on training new teachers than it spent supporting the existing workforce” (The Telegraph, 2018). Consequently, with the government's focus falling more on new teachers, those existing in the sector are suffering and being pushed out of their positions due to job dissatisfaction. The cause of this? Missed salary expectations, government pressures, and at the forefront - workload.

With this current outlook on the teaching profession, it has been reported by UCAS, that the number of students applying to teacher training reduced by 29% from 2017 (TES, 2018). Despite efforts to encourage applications, the Government missed it’s teacher-recruitment targets in 2017. It has been reported by Geoff Barton that the lack of interest in joining the profession is a “serious and urgent issue”.

Why are teachers leaving the profession?

How many hours a week do you spend planning and preparing lessons? 4 in 10 teachers profess that they spend 21 hours per week working at home on evenings after work and weekends. As a result, 81% of teachers have contemplated walking away from their profession as a result of excessive workload (The Essential Daily Briefing, 2018).

The Government launched it’s return to teaching pilot in early 2018, yet it only received a response of a mere 4% of its intended former teacher target. Benefits of the job, including longer holidays, simply aren’t enough as 1 in 5 teachers report working more than 60 hours a week (Evening Standard,2018). Disgruntled teachers have been speaking out about their experience as a teacher in England:

“We are not trusted to get on and do our job. We are accountable at every level which creates more stress and paperwork. We are exhausted and great teachers are being driven out of the profession because they are burned out!”

Meg Hillier, chair of the Public Accounts Committee stressed that classrooms in England are suffering as more should be done to tackle teacher workload. It’s pledged by Ministers that teacher workload must be cut, and it should be done by strippoing away pointless tasks that do not impact a child's education and only add burden to teachers, such as administrative demands.

How can we help?

Planning and preparing lessons is a burden to every teacher as they often work to the early hours of the morning. With our readymade lesson plans, you will have the time to focus on other aspects of the job, such as policy changes and classroom management.

With growing workloads and a lack of acknowledgement for change, we are here to assist you in developing a work life balance and reduce stress. We provide access to high quality curriculum resources, which ensures teachers are presenting knowledge-rich and engaging lessons that help students to gain knowledge and skills they need.

Furthermore, our Lessons can  reassure Schools that all teachers are delivering lessons that are effective and in alignment with the curriculum as they have been created by the Bourne Education Trust - a leading Trust in England.

  • By Uteach Lessons
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We seek to enable teachers to invest a greater proportion of their energy in delivering engaging classroom experiences, and to secure a more reasonable #worklifebalance.

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