Is There A Teacher Recruitment Crisis?

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Is there a recruitment crisis, and what does the latest research tell us about the education workforce?

On Thursday 22nd June 2017, the Department for Education published National Statistics for 2016. This is a single reference for all school workforce statistics based on staff working in publicly funded schools in England. Here is the summary and some interesting facts.

  • How many teachers work part-time? Full time?
  • What is the average salary for teachers? For school leaders?
  • Are there more male than female? What is the ethnicity of our teachers?
  • How old are teachers? What number of teachers have a disability?

These are some of the questions readers would like to know, so I’ve had a look through the 17-page document and provided you with a handy summary.

School Workforce Statistics

In November 2016 there were 1.4 million people (headcount) working in state-funded schools in England. This comprises 503.9 thousand teachers, 12.8 thousand occasional teachers (on contracts of less than one month), 387.9 thousand teaching assistants, 450.9 thousand school support staff and 47.8 thousand additional third-party support staff.

Full Time Equivalent:

Between 2015 and 2016 the total number of FTE teachers increased by 0.4 thousand (0.1 per cent) from 456.9 thousand FTEs to 457.3 thousand FTEs.

Between 2011 and 2016, the rate of entry into teaching has remained higher than the percentage of qualified teachers leaving the profession.

The total number of FTE qualified entrants to teaching has decreased from 45,120 (10.4 per cent) in 2015 to 43,830 (10.1 percent) in 2016.


Almost three out of four school teachers are female and four out of five school employees are female. By 2016, 73.9 per cent of full-time equivalent teachers were female rising from 72.9 per cent from 2010.


Between 2010 and 2016 there have been increases in the number of younger teachers and decreases in the number of older teachers. The largest change has been in the percentage of FTE teachers aged between 50 and 60. In 2016, 15.6% of FTE teachers were aged 50 to 60 compared with 21.7 per cent in 2010.


The percentage of teachers (where details are known) recorded as White British has decreased from 87.0 per cent in 2015 to 86.5 per cent in 2016.

Head teachers recorded as White British was 93.1 per cent in 2016 (a small decrease from 93.4 per cent in 2015) and 90.4 per cent of assistant and deputy head teachers were recorded as White British (see page 9 for more details).


In November 2016, 76.8 per cent of the headcount total number of teachers worked full-time and 23.2 per cent worked part-time. In 2016, 27.8 per cent of female teachers worked part-time compared with 9.0 per cent of male teachers. Primary school teachers are more likely to work part-time (26.5 per cent) compared with 18.8 per cent of all secondary school teachers.

Teacher’ Pay:

In 2016, the average (mean) FTE salary for all full and part-time teachers was £38,400 – an increase of £600 compared with 2015. The average salary for all full and part-time leadership group teachers was £57,500 in 2016.


The majority of teachers, 98.5 per cent, hold qualifications at degree level or higher – this includes those with Bachelor of Education degrees and those with a Postgraduate Certificate of Education.


In November 2016, there were 920 vacancies for full-time permanent teachers in state-funded schools, a rate of 0.3 per cent. Note, most schools rarely have vacancies at this time of the year when compared to April/May when resignations are tendered and staff look to move on to new employment for 1st September.

There has been a constant request from senior teachers to the DfE, that they collate this data at another period to review ‘how accurate recruitment and retention needs genuinely are’ when asked the same question at a peak time of the recruitment year.

Other Facts:

  • In the 2015/16 academic year, 54 per cent of teachers in service at any time during the year had at least one period of sickness absence.
  • In 2016, the pupil teacher ratio was 17.6; this is the number of full-time equivalent pupils for each full-time equivalent teacher working in state-funded schools in England.
  • The latest data, as at March 31st 2016, shows the total (headcount) number of teachers taking retirement (throughout the financial year) is 15,200.

For more details, visit the Department for Education.

Download a copy here.


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