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Teacher Retention: Who Is More Likely To Leave, You Or The Headteacher?

16 October 2017

Teacher surveys regularly show around half of teachers are thinking of leaving the profession in the next few years. This is bad for teacher retention.

We wanted to see if Teacher Tapp panel had the same profile but we asked in a slightly more positive way: ‘Do you expect to be teaching in 3 years’ time?’

Overall, 73% of teachers said ‘yes’ they were likely to still be teaching in 3 years’ time. This is much higher than expected given previous answers.

But why? One hypothesis is that Teacher Tapp users are more positive about their job than others. However, when we ask about other things – for example, satisfaction with hours, levels of behaviour problems, or workload – we find substantial levels of unhappiness. Teacher Tappers therefore don’t seem overly happy, even if we presume there is some bias in who decides to take part. (Which is the case for all surveys).

A second hypothesis, posited by Dr James Shea (@englishspecial) on twitter, is that an over-representation of senior leaders in the sample might have caused the positivity.  We tested to see if this was true and found that classroom teachers are marginally more uncertain about their future in the classroom. But roughly the same proportion of teachers said they would ‘probably not’ still be in the job across all levels of seniority.

From what we have found so far, we should perhaps take heart. Or maybe this view will change as the year goes by? Stay tuned to find out!


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