Teacher recruitment and retention strategy

The Department for Education’s strategy for recruiting and retaining school teachers in state-funded schools


Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy

One-page summary for schools


Teaching remains a popular career choice for many. We recruited over 2,000 more trainee teachers for the 2018/19 academic year than in 2017/18, continuing the positive trend we saw the previous year. However, the growing number of pupils of secondary age means that we need even more teachers. This is at a time when we are losing more teachers from the profession than we can afford to, and are operating in the most competitive labour market on record.

To address this, the Department for Education has developed a Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy. Building on extensive quantitative and qualitative evidence, the strategy was developed collaboratively with teachers, headteachers, representative bodies, teachers’ unions, initial teacher training providers and leading experts.

At the core of the strategy is the understanding that there are no great schools without great teachers. No other profession is as important to the fate of the next generation or is as uniquely rewarding as teaching. The strategy outlines four key areas where focus, investment and reform can have the biggest impact on improving teacher recruitment and retention.

Priority 1: Create the right climate for leaders to establish supportive school cultures

At the heart of this will be reforming the school accountability system. In particular we will radically simplify the system, consulting on making Requires Improvement the sole trigger for an offer of support – replacing floor and coasting standards. The new Ofsted framework will have an active focus on reducing teacher workload, with inspectors considering staff workload as part of the leadership and management judgement. They will also look unfavourably on schools that implement burdensome data practices, and will refuse to look at internal assessment data.

Priority 2: Transform support for early career teachers

We are launching the Early Career Framework, which will underpin a fully-funded, two-year package of structured support for all early career teachers linked to the best available research evidence – alongside funded time off-timetable in the second year of teaching and additional support for mentors. We will create a major shift in the incentives for new teachers by introducing phased training bursaries, with staggered retention payments to encourage good people to remain in the profession, as well as to join.

Priority 3: Build a career offer that remains attractive to teachers as their careers and lives develop

We will develop specialist qualifications to support clearer non-leadership career pathways for teachers that want to stay and excel in the classroom. We will invest in these new and existing leadership qualifications, and will do so disproportionately in challenging schools. We will support headteachers to transform approaches to flexible working in schools.

Priority 4: Make it easier for great people to become teachers

We will launch a new Discover Teaching initiative, giving as many people as possible the opportunity to experience the unique opportunities that a career in teaching provides. We will simplify the process for becoming a teacher, introducing new digital systems designed to make application much easier and more user-friendly. In particular, we will introduce a new one-stop application service for initial teacher training, which will be easier to use and designed to better meet the needs of potential trainees. We will review the initial teacher training market to support it to work more efficiently and effectively.

This strategy builds on work already in hand to achieve this government’s vision to improve teacher recruitment and retention. We know that delivering this vision will take time; the issues are complicated and long-standing. But we are committed to continuing to work closely with the teaching profession to deliver this vision.

Department for Education