Together we Exceed

What does research tell us about teacher workload and retention?

Where do teachers go when they leave working in public education sector?

  • 33% teach in the private sector
  • 29% retire
  • 9% have a non-teaching role in a school
  • 5% become self-employed

What happens to teachers pay after they leave?

  • 10% lower pay in the first year after leaving
  • In the first three years, pay does not recover to the level they were paid as a teacher

What happens to teachers working hours after they leave the profession?

  • There is no significant change in weekly working hours amongst those who worked full-time before and after leaving the profession
  • The proportion of teachers working part-time increases by 10 percentage points after they leave the profession, but this is driven by secondary teachers where part time working increases by 20 percentage points

What happens to job satisfaction when teachers leave?

  • Job satisfaction increases considerably after leaving the profession. Satisfaction levels of those considering leaving does decreasing over time before they leave
  • There is no significant change in wellbeing for those who leave teaching for another job
  • Job satisfaction is closely related to the quality of school leadership, including whether teachers feel supported and their level of autonomy


Bamford, S. and Worth, J. (2017). Teacher Retention and Turnover Research. Research Update 3: Is the Grass Greener Beyond Teaching? Slough: NFER.

  • Since 2010, the number of teachers leaving the profession before retirement has increased. Between 2010-11 and 2014-15, the proportion increased from 8.9% to 10.3% in primary schools and 10.8% to 11.8% in secondary schools.
  • The proportion of teachers moving schools has also increased, from 5.3% to 8.5% in primary schools and 4.2% to 8.3% in secondary schools.
  • These changes mean schools have more vacancies to fill.
  • The proportion of teachers in their 50s has decreased markedly between 2010 and 2016, from 23% to 17%.
  • More inexperienced teachers are required to replace them.
  • Maths, science and MFL teachers have above-average rates of leaving the profession.
  • Teachers work considerably longer hours during term time that nurses and police officers in a normal working week. Because of the peaks and troughs of the school year, teachers work more intensively across fewer weeks in the year. Working long hours over prolonged periods, as teachers are doing, can create pressure and stress, with potential negative effects on health and well-being.
  • The importance of line management support for improving retention, including managers having the skills to support, is emphasised by stakeholders in nursing and policing.
  • Rates of leaving are highest among early-career teachers.
  • Effectively promoting teacher well-being may improve their ability to manage high workloads.
  • Despite falling real-time pay and longer hours, 78% of teachers reported they are satisfied with their jobs in 2015-16, higher than nurses and police officers.
  • Teachers are not primarily motivated to leave the profession by the prospect of increased pay.
  • 26% of primary teachers and 18% of secondary teachers worked part-time in 2016. Primary schools tend to be more able and willing to accommodate part-time teaching. 20% of full-time secondary teachers who leave teaching take up part-time work.


Worth, J., Lynch, S., Hilary, J., Rennie, C. and Andrade, J. (2018). Teacher Workforce Dynamics in England. Slough: NFER.

  • The secondary school system is facing a substantial teacher supply challenge over the next decade. DfE forecasts secondary schools will require 15,000 more teachers between 2018 and 2025 to meet the 15% rise in pupil numbers.
  • Teacher supply in the primary school system has increased to meet rising demand over the last decade, and these numbers need to be maintained for the next 10 years.
  • Between 2012 and 2018, retention rates of early-career teachers (2-5 years into their career) has dropped significantly.
  • Alternative sources of teacher supply, such as returners and overseas-trained teachers, have not increased.
  • 41% of teachers are dissatisfied with their amount of leisure time, compared to 32% in similar professions.
  • 20% of teachers feel tense about their job most or all of the time, compared to 13% of similar professions.
  • Reducing teachers’ unnecessary workload presents the biggest potential area for improving retention.
  • Around 23% of teachers would like to reduce their working hours even if it means less pay, compared to 17% of similar professions.


Worth, J. and Van den Brande, J. (2019). Teacher Labour Market in England. Annual Report 2019. Slough: NFER.

Bradford’s workforce

In terms of Bradford’s educational workforce:

  • Bradford schools have a workforce of 12,913 full time equivalent (FTE) members of staff, of which 4,595 are classroom teachers, 900 leadership, and 3,849 teaching assistants.
  • 9% of teacher work part-time (England 23.7%)
  • The ratio of teachers to TAs is 0.7 (England 0.6)
  • 1% of teachers are male (England 25.9%)
  • 4% of teachers are from minority ethnic groups (England 14%)
  • 5% are aged over 50 (England 17.6%)
  • 8% have Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) (England 95.3%)
  • 9% of unqualified teachers are on a QTS route (England 18.1%)
  • 2% of TAs are HLTAs (England 6.9%)
  • The average teacher salary is £37,832 (England £39,504)
  • 8% of teacher are on the main pay range (England 43.2%)
  • 2% of teachers are on the upper pay range or lead practitioners pay range (England 42.4%)
  • 6% of teachers are on the leadership pay range (England 14.5%)
  • 9% of teachers have at least one period of sickness absence, equating to 26,977 days (England 54.4%)The average number of days lost is 8.7 (England 7.4)
  • 7 teaching posts are vacant (England 987) and 86 are filled full-time temporarily (England 2,777)
  • 8% of schools report vacancies (England 3.3%)


DfE’s school workforce statistics:

England NQT retention rates

Yorkshire and Humberside NQT retention rates


Teachers Analysis Compendium 4 Entrants, Leavers and Retention Statistics (Pilot)


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