Public Accounts Committee

Retaining and developing the teaching workforce inquiry

Inquiry status: Concluded

Report published 31 January 2018. Government response published 1 March 2018.

Report and response published

Scope of the inquiry

Schools spend approximately £21 billion on their teaching workforce. Despite an overall increase in the number of teachers in state schools between 2010 and 2016, the number teaching in secondary schools has dropped by 4.9%. In 2016 alone nearly 35,000 teachers left their jobs.

In its report into retaining and developing the teaching workforce, the National Audit Office found that more teachers are leaving the job before retirement than five years ago, and schools are struggling to fill posts with the quality of teachers they need. The biggest strain on teachers is workload, with some working 54-hour weeks.

The report also found that variation between regions of the UK facing teacher shortages is high, with 26.4% of schools in South East England reporting vacancies, compared with 16.4% in the North East. Whilst the Department for Education spent £555 million on training and support for new teachers in 2013/14, it only spent £35.7 million on programmes for developing and retention in 2016–17, or which only £91,000 was towards improving teaching retention.

The Public Accounts Committee will hear from teachers and former teachers about their experiences of teacher development and retention. The Committee will then ask officials from the Department for Education what they are doing to improve retention and ensure the teaching workforce is sustainable in the years ahead.


Read all transcripts, written evidence and other material related to the inquiry on retaining and developing the teaching workforce.


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