A Teacher Exodus?

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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If you are a teacher, how long do you expect to continue working in the profession?

Not many people will now, that I am a Digital Ambassador for (ESP) Education Support Partnership; a network offering coaching and counselling to teachers 24 hours a day. Last year, they received 11,925 calls to their Support Line, had 101,917 visitors and provided over £180,000 in grants to teachers in need. This means every 24 minutes, they help a teacher in need.

ESP (formerly Teacher Support Network) conducted a survey and revealed “that schools are set to suffer an ‘experience exodus’ by 2020 and beyond. In the 794 strong representative sample of teachers polled online by YouGov, 34% said they expect to leave in the next 1-5 years.”

A further 22% said they expect to leave teaching in 6-20 years.

Teacher Support Netowrk Education Support Partnership exodus poll survey

Source: Teacher Support Network

Our Survey said;

Retirement and workload are the main reasons teachers are leaving the profession. If you are a teacher, what would be your reason for leaving?

shutterstock_176972168 Closeup portrait of stressed, overwhelmed, sad elderly business man, old accountant, broker bank worker troubled by budget numbers, unhappy with contract, thinking worried isolated on white background

Image: Shutterstock

In the poll, teachers selected the following factors to explain why they would leave their education setting in the future:

  • Retirement (45%)
  • Excessive Workload (40%)
  • Unreasonable demands from managers (24%)
  • Pay / Pensions (19%)
  • Rapid pace of organisational change (18%)
  • Student behaviour (13%)
  • Attraction of working outside the education sector (13%)
  • Attraction of other roles within the education sector (12%)
  • and more …

Teacher Support Netowrk Education Support Partnership exodus poll survey

Source: Teacher Support Network

The Workforce Census:

At our school – and in schools across England and Wales – school leadership teams will be submitting their data to the DfE as part of the annual workforce census. This data, due to be submitted this month will inform the DfE about ‘current’ vacancies in schools. The data will most likely tell us, that recruitment is not as bad as we would assume. This is because the data collection is collected at a time of year, when vacancies have had to be filled with supply teachers and temporary staff, so that students have a teacher in front of them. What we do not know, and certainly what the DfE do not tell us, is that these teachers may not be the right people for the job.

By using the school workforce statistics from 2014, we can calculate that approximately 154,000 teachers will need to be recruited in England alone by 2020 merely to keep teacher numbers at the same level, unless efforts are made to successfully retain these staff. (Source)

Schools and school leaders have a duty of care to place an adult in front of their children. Therefore, when reporting statistics and in particular school vacancies, because the position is currently filled, albeit with a temporary person, schools cannot report this position as a current vacancy. Thus, the DfE will tell us there is no recruitment crisis. I will be blogging about this in more detail this week …


I have added my own poll below to ask my readers; ‘If you are a teacher, what would be the reason would you leave the profession?’

Find out more about the resources Education Support Partnership provide. A charity I am proud to support; why not follow @EdSupportUK on Twitter.


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5 thoughts on “A Teacher Exodus?

  1. Some quite sad stats there, but I have to admit that in the last week or so I have seriously considered finding a new job outside of teaching because even on an 80% timetable I am struggling to keep up with workload and have felt like I am an NQT again with all the micromanagement through what feels like constant observations (2 in the last week), work scrutinies where people drag over the coals for minor things (such as not using a verbal feedback stamp!) and dictation from above on what to teach / put in my SOW.

  2. I would suggest that a combination of all of these factors would encourage teachers to leave the profession. The news this morning about ‘protecting’ cuts to education will not be of any reassurance to anyone. I must add that I love the positive spin that has been given, such that we are supposed to be happy that there will not be any cuts to education!! Underfunding, now and constant changes to education policy is only going to lead to problems now, and in the future. Education, like all of our public services has been streamlined enough and the majority of people working in these sectors have had enough. What limits teachers from finding positions outside the classroom is usually the students who they can only feel sorry for. Teachers try to do are best for students but who wants to be taught by a stressed out teacher? Many are just going though the motions of ‘teaching’ just to get to the next weekend or next holiday. This leads to students loosing interest in their lessons which and further de-motivates teachers. Schools should be places of motivation and happiness. I think teachers need to throw down there books and turn off their computers and go out and do something fun with their classes. Maybe some tips can be taken from Andy Cope, otherwise known as Dr Happiness!

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