Over a quarter of newly qualified teachers say they only intend to stay in teaching for a maximum of five years, a conference organised by the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, has heard, with excessive workload and poor work/life balance the biggest drivers of dissatisfaction.

Newly qualified teachers from across the country gathered in Birmingham today (Saturday) for the NASUWT’s Newly Qualified Teacher Seminar to discuss the challenges facing them as new teachers and to engage in professional development workshops.

The conference heard concerns from new teachers about the impact of excessive workload and bureaucracy on their ability to focus on teaching and learning. Many newly qualified teachers are also being denied their statutory rights and entitlements during their induction year

A real-time electronic poll of newly qualified teachers attending the seminar found that:

  • Over a quarter say they only intend to stay in teaching for a maximum of five years. 6% said they only intend to stay in teaching for 12 months;

  • Nearly half (49%) said a better work/life balance would most encourage them to stay in teaching long-term. Over a third (37%) said secure employment with fair access to pay progression would most encourage them to remain;

  • Excessive workload was the biggest problem being experienced during the induction year, followed by a lack of support to deal with poor pupil behaviour;

  • Nearly six in ten (59%) say they do not have a reasonable work/life balance. Nearly half (47%) say that less paperwork and form filling would make the biggest difference in helping them to achieve a better balance;

  • The majority of NQTs are being subjected to excessive classroom observation, with 13% saying they were observed daily and 23% weekly, often with no feedback;

  • Nearly a third (30%) were not in receipt of the full 10% reduction in teaching time they are entitled to during their induction year;

  • A quarter say they can rarely or never access appropriate CPD or professional development;

  • One in ten said they were rarely or never provided with adequate support and guidance from their induction mentor. 9% had not even been provided with a named mentor.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“The number of newly qualified teachers saying they do not intend to remain in the profession in the short or medium-term is extremely worrying, but unfortunately not surprising.

“The combination of excessive workload, real terms cuts to teachers’ pay and the failure in too many cases to provide new teachers with the support they are entitled to is driving precious new recruits out of the profession and fuelling the recruitment and retention crisis we are now seeing across the profession.

“We cannot afford to squander the talents and skills of new teachers who are the future of the profession.

“The NASUWT has provided ministers with detailed strategies and solutions to address the drivers of excessive workload which, if implemented in every school, would make a huge difference to making a career in teaching more attractive and sustainable, while also supporting teachers to continue to raise standards.

“The Government must take the necessary steps to address the crisis it has created in teacher recruitment and retention. It cannot gamble with children and young people’s life chances by continuing to fail teachers.”

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