NFER data dashboard – teacher recruitment and retention

Posted on December 13th, 2022

Recent figures show that the government has missed its target for recruitment of secondary school teachers this year – 41% below target. Also, for the first time, the recruitment of trainee primary teachers is 7% below target.

It is against this background of trainee teacher shortage that a data dashboard has been created by NFER with support from the Nuffield Foundation. The dashboard uses material from the school workforce census and provider-level ITT statistics and is backed by data from the Office of National Statistics.

Aim of the dashboard

The aim of the dashboard is to:

  • Increase understanding of the nature of teacher supply.
  • Inform stakeholders by highlighting specific challenges.
  • Support policy makers and decision makers to take action to address teacher shortages in the areas where they are most prevalent.

Populating the dashboard

The measures used to populate the dashboard are:

  • Overall rate of teachers leaving the state-funded sector and also specifically at subject level.
  • Overall rate of early career teachers leaving the state-funded sector and also specifically at subject level.
  • Overall rate of teachers leaving their school and also specifically at subject level.
  • Net change in teacher numbers due to teachers moving school.
  • Number of vacancies and temporarily filled posts per 100 teachers.
  • Average expenditure per pupil on supply teaching.
  • Number of teacher trainees per teacher.
  • Number of trainees recruited to ITT.
  • Proportion of hours taught by teachers with a relevant degree.
  • Proportion of science hours taught by teachers with different degree specialisms.

Searching for data

The dashboard provides schools with three options to search the data.

  • By area – the data identifies teacher shortages by local district authorities and even parliamentary constituencies. Shortages are also identified by five ‘travel to work’ areas – London, large urban areas, medium sized areas, small non-coastal areas and small coastal areas.
  • By school subject.
  • By school type – primary or secondary and also by level of pupil deprivation (FSM), and whether the school is in an Education Investment area.

Key findings

The key findings from the dashboard include:

  • Secondary schools with high numbers of disadvantaged pupils were most likely to haemorrhage teachers – in 2020 the schools with the highest proportion of FSM pupil had an attrition rate of 9.5%. Even those schools with the lowest number of FSM pupils had an average attrition rate of 7.1%.
  • There is a strong correlation between levels of pupil deprivation and the amount of classes being taught by a non-specialist teacher (ie without a degree in science). In 2019 9.1% of science lessons in schools with the highest level of deprivation were taught by non-scientists. In the schools with the lowest level of deprivation, the figure was 5.4%.
  • The area data shows that in 2020 some areas lost far more secondary teachers than others. The figures vary from 32.7% of secondary teachers who left state-funded schools in Nottingham to just 2.7% in West Lindsey. The average loss rate across local authority areas was 7.6%.
  • The loss of early career teachers is most marked for modern foreign languages (MFL) and computing teachers. In 2020, 15.8% of MFL teachers and 15.4% of new computing teachers left the state-funded sector within five years of qualifying. Marginally fewer early career science teachers were lost within five years – 13.6%.
  • In 2022, government recruitment figures for trainee physics teachers were 83% below target, for MFL trainee teachers 66% and for computing by 70% below target.
  • In 2020 the average spend per pupil on supply teachers was £74.40, with South Holland in Lincolnshire spending the most at an average of as much as.£269.70 per pupil.

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