Commenting on data released by the Department for Education today, covering the school workforce as well as children, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:  

“The latest information confirms that the serious and deep-rooted teacher recruitment and retention problems remain. On a range of measures, it is clear that the problems are getting worse - even before the impact of the Government's plans to cut the value of teacher pay. 

“The number of newly-qualified entrants is lower than in every year but one since 2012, despite a large boost to the number of teacher trainees in 2020/21. The number of teachers moving out of service increased by almost a fifth compared with the previous year. The number of teachers leaving within their first year has increased to 1 in 8. The number of teachers leaving last year increased to 36,262 up by more than four thousand on the year before, despite a reduction in the number of teachers retiring. Almost a quarter of teachers leave the profession within three years and almost a third within five years. This reflects the findings of our own surveys and is not a sustainable situation.    

“Pupil:teacher ratios have not improved in the primary sector despite the fall in primary pupil numbers, and have increased in the secondary sector. This adds to the already critical problems caused by excessive workload. 

“The Government plans more real terms cuts to teacher pay, adding to the cuts of around a fifth since 2010.  Pay cuts, and the failure of the Government to tackle excessive workload, are bound to intensify recruitment and retention problems that are already critical.  This will cause serious damage to education, so urgent action to address these problems is vital for parents and young people as well as for teachers. Instead of planning to cut pay again, the Government must protect teachers and other educators by implementing fully-funded and inflation-proofed cost of living increases across all pay scales.”