New number of UK teachers leaving profession ‘hugely concerning’
According to the numbers, the average teacher wage in England is now £41,604, and the number of teaching assistants has increased to 281,100, a 5,300 rise from the previous year.
Teacher vacancies have more than doubled in the last two years, while over 40,000 instructors have left their professions in the last year, according to recent English official data.
According to data released by the government on Thursday, the number of teacher openings grew from 1,100 in November 2020 to 2,300 in November 2022. The number of open temporary teaching positions grew as well, from 1,800 in November 2020 to 3,000 in November 2022.
The data, derived primarily from the school workforce census and encompassing mainly state-funded schools, revealed that the number of teachers increased by less than 1% in the previous year to 468,400. In 2021/22, over 44,000 teachers left the public sector, a 7,800 increase over the previous year and the highest rate since 2017/18.
The average teacher salary in England is now £41,604, according to the figures, and the number of teaching assistants rose to 281,100 – an increase of 5,300 since last year. The data shows that pupil-teacher ratios have remained stable, with 20.7 pupils for every nursery and primary school teacher in 2022/23.
Jack Worth, from the National Foundation for Educational Research, said: “It is hugely concerning that 40,000 working-age teachers left the profession last year, the highest level since records began in 2010."
"While fewer teachers retired, the overall picture is that teacher leaving rates rose in 2022 to just above the pre-pandemic level amid a competitive wider labor market."
Worth further explained that the teacher supply challenge should be tackled by addressing teacher retention, and enacting policies to reduce teacher workload and improving teacher pay.
General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, Geoff Barton, said that the figures for teacher vacancies were “only the tip of the iceberg," adding, “The reason for this desperate state of affairs is the fact that the government has implemented years of real-term pay cuts, inadequate funding levels, and an eye-watering system of performance tables and Ofsted inspections, all of which is deterring recruits and driving out teachers. We cannot go on like this.”
More to the point, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan sai,d “A great education does not happen by chance, and brilliant teachers shape children’s lives every day."
He explained that without immediate action, more educators will decide that what should be a rewarding career is not for them, and students' education and life chances will suffer as a result. “No matter how the government tries to spin it, today’s data shows that it is in denial over its failure to tackle the longstanding recruitment and retention crisis in teaching."
Moreover, he believes that after more than a decade of real-term pay cuts, crushing workload, and the impact of high-stakes inspection and accountability measures that drive ill health, teachers and leaders will continue to leave an education system where funding is still below 2010 levels in real terms. “Without urgent action, more education professionals will sadly decide that what should be a rewarding career is not for them, and pupils’ education and life chances will inevitably suffer.”
Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said that the figures were “yet more evidence that this incompetent Conservative government has created the perfect storm in recruitment and retention of teachers”.