40% of Teachers Quitting After Just One Year in UK

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walking out on teaching
photo credit: Alison walking away via photopin (license)

40% of Teachers Quitting after just One Year
by Robert Davies

The Department of Education in the UK recently released figures about the teaching industry which showed that nearly 40% of all newly qualified teachers leave the profession within their first year. These statistics paint a bleak picture for new recruits to teaching and it’s something that needs to be tackled head on.

What is happening in modern schools to drive newly qualified teachers away from the classroom and into other careers? The Department of Education’s Data shows that the number of teachers who complete their qualifications and training in teaching but never actually enter the profession has tripled in six years to nearly 11,00 in 2011.

Newly qualified teachers are entering a profession where they’re given a lot of trust very quickly and in return they need genuine support. It could be the current lack of support which is driving our NQTs away.

Certain recruitment agencies like Randstad are running National Newly Qualified Teachers Open Days, to help improve the perception that teaching is a viable career choice.
Support needs to come from all different sources. Teachers need support from their schools, support from government and support to find the right place to start their career, which fits into their career path plan.

Why are our NQTs unconvinced by a career in teaching?

Rachael Pells, who writes for The Independent has highlighted a wide range of reasons which could be causing teachers to quit within their first year. Many of the reasons aren’t new to us and could even be called the usual suspects.

Pressure to Deliver A-C Grades

People who enter the teaching profession want to instil a love of learning to their pupils and the results-focused style of modern education simply doesn’t suit them. Teachers should feel comfortable teaching in an inspiring and entertaining way, honing that love of learning and not so heavily burdened and pressurised by the need to achieve.

Lack of Jobs

Supply teaching isn’t the career path that every teacher wants but it has become increasingly popular as it offers variety. However, permanent teachers are still essential but more and more newly qualified professionals are resistant to this path, because finding a full-time permanent position that works with their career goals is often difficult.

Long Working Hours

Many teachers work 50-60 hours a week when you factor in outside of the classroom work, most prominently grading. While this isn’t the only career path with long working hours, the need to be active and involved throughout classroom hours while working until the early hours of the morning to catch up on paperwork can begin to take its toll.

Overregulation of the Profession

Governing bodies in many countries around the world are creating strict accountability measures, which include linking teacher performance to standardized test scores. These measures also include many school-mandated trainings, which reduce time with students and often offer little in terms of legitimate professional development.

The need to empower head teachers to take the lead on professional development, decision making and target setting has been deliberated for several years now.

These latest statistics illustrate the need to find solutions to keep new and enthusiastic teachers on the right track, rather than discourage them during their first few months on the job.

Doing ‘Our Bit’

Supportive schools and well organised teams will help combat the dropout rate among NQTs and this in turn will help improve the perception of teaching a career option. Subsequently, the number of first-year teachers quitting may decline.

In a bid to provide newly qualified teachers with real insights into the life of teaching, certain recruitment agencies like Randstad are running National Newly Qualified Teachers Open Days, to help improve the perception that teaching is a viable career choice.

Robert Davies is a recruitment consultant who has been working in the recruitment industry for the last five years. Robert is originally from Canada where he was working as a teacher, but is now based in London and lives with his wife and 3 children. Outside of work he enjoys writing, reading and sports.

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Mark Barnes is the Founder of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series, The uNseries, and other books from some of education's most reputable teachers and leaders. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Connect with @markbarnes19 on Twitter.
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