Recruitment and retention crisis. Why now?


Never has there been such a key time as now for the education recruitment industry to meet the challenge of increasing demand of teachers in a competitive climate. For several years, the growing number of school children alongside the increasing number of teachers leaving the profession has created a shortfall in the teaching workforce. This is set to continue according to the Department for Education (2018) who suggest that by 2025 there will be 15% more pupils in secondary schools than there were in 2018. [National pupil projections – future trends in pupil numbers: July 2018].


Teaching is a vocational calling, with those newly qualified being passionate to impart their knowledge and make a difference to children’s lives. However, over 20% of new teachers leave the profession within their first 2 years of teaching, and 33% leave within their first 5 years. [School workforce in England: November 2017]. Expectation and standards have been steadfast whilst the increase in workload, demands of managing pupil behaviour and lack of support to newly qualified teachers have been a recipe for teachers to leave the profession.


Understanding the key reasons why so many teachers leave has been paramount for the Department for Education in order to address retention issues and prevent a bigger shortfall of teachers in the future. According to Damien Hinds, Secretary of State for Education, “People enter teaching motivated by the chance to change lives. I am determined that those who are called to this noble profession stay in it, where they will continue to inspire children for many years to come.” 


The Department of Education’s recent “Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy 2019” sets out 4 major areas of action to address the issues.


A major part of the strategy is:

  • A user- friendly digital application system designed to simplify the process of becoming a teacher.
  • The development of the “Early Career Framework” which provides a two-year funded structured support and development package for newly qualified teachers.
  • A reduction in unnecessary workload to help create a culture that centres on teaching.
  • Increased opportunity for flexible working and development of specialist qualifications to support non-leadership roles as well as current leadership qualifications for career pathways.
  • The strategy does not include measures to address verbal and physical abuse suffered by teachers through pupil behaviour or online abuse. The Department for Education have planned a £10 million investment enabling schools to share best practice in behaviour management which is due to start in September 2020.

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