Research by the Department for Education (DfE) has found that workload is the ‘most important factor’ for teachers leaving the profession, with factors such as government initiatives and being undervalued by the Senior Leadership Team as close contributing reasons.
The DfE surveyed 1,023 ex-teachers who have left since 2015, and a staggering 75% of respondents said that workload was the reason they left the profession.
Other reasons for leaving the profession included Ofsted pressure, lack of support from school leadership, disagreeing with how the school is run and poor pupil behaviour.
The research also found a correlation between the Ofsted rating of a school and the proportion of teachers quoting issues such as feeling undervalued or unsupported by leadership, Ofsted inspection pressure, disagreeing with how schools are run and poor pupil behaviour as important factors in their departure.
Smaller factors also came into play in the research, although proved to be an issue for only a minority of respondents, such as ‘earning a higher salary elsewhere’, ‘wanting a new challenge’ and ‘did not feel suited to teaching’.
The survey also revealed that more than half of teachers left for a job that actually paid less than their teaching role. Just one quarter said they went on to earn more.
More than 60% of leavers remained in education, but the destinations of those who did not were “hugely varied”, the report said.
Comparisons between ages was also a contributing factor with respondents. Higher priorities for those aged between 20 and 30 were low pay and lack of career progression opportunities, whereas for older counterparts these didn’t factor.
Workload, pupil behaviour, Ofsted pressure, and flexible working were also higher factors for younger teachers.
The research has been published just one day after the National Audit Office launched a damning new report on teacher supply issues.
The report found half of school leaders have not engaged with the government’s flagship ‘workload challenge’ programme at all, and that only £91,000 has been spent on programmes to support workload or pupil behaviour.