“The NFER has made a welcome intervention in the ongoing crisis over teacher recruitment and retention. Today’s report echoes our own long-standing concerns about the anxieties faced by teachers.
“Workload is unsurprisingly at the heart of the matter. This is why the NEU has put pressure so consistently on Department for Education, to attack at root the very factors which create such an unnecessary burden. Teachers typically work well in excess of 50 hours per week, as demonstrated by survey upon survey. Primary teachers new to the profession are working nearly 19 hours per week outside of normal school hours. A great deal of these excess hours are consumed by accountability measures – pointless box-ticking activities – which may satisfy Ofsted and the DfE, but have precious little impact on the children teachers teach.
“The reasons that so many leave the profession so quickly are not a mystery to us. When faced with impossible workloads, endless accountability, a testing culture run riot, and flat or underfunded pay deals year after year, it is all too common for good teachers to leave the profession.
“The solutions are really not so complicated, and have been obvious to anyone on the frontline for years. Address pay and workload and we will see increases in applications to teacher training for subjects that have long had shortfalls. Address excessive accountability and we will see teachers stay in the profession and thrive, returned to first principles and the vocation they love.
“Damian Hinds has made some gestures towards tackling these abiding problems, which we have welcomed, but the NFER’s report is a sharp reminder that the situation needs to improve fast.”