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Social Research

Research study on the attractiveness of teaching and retention of teachers

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  • Release date: 5 March 2019
The research explores what currently motivates people to want to teach, what keeps them teaching and what might cause them to consider leaving.

Key findings

Factors that encourage individuals to pursue a teaching career and remain in the profession include:
  • a sense of teaching as a vocation and the opportunities it brings to have a positive impact on the lives of children and young people
  • opportunities for creative professionalism, particularly a degree of autonomy over the working day
  • career structure such as progression and holiday entitlements
  • opportunities to promote knowledge and skills
  • effective and consistent professional support during all stages of training and throughout a teaching career is seen as an essential component for retention.

Factors that may discourage individuals from considering a teaching career and contribute to leaving the profession include:
  • workload and stress were off-putting for potential entrants and early career teachers
  • the image of teaching - some young people believed that they could access higher salaries with less stress and workload by pursuing other careers
  • the need for more support - a lack of support from school leaders was cited as a reason for leaving teaching
  • the research identified the importance of supporting teachers and developing a culture in which they feel able to admit to struggling.


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