Backlash over DfE spin as record 40,000 teachers quit the chalkface

There has been a backlash at the Department for Education’s attempt to put a positive spin on the latest school workforce figures – ignoring the fact that a record 40,000 teachers quit last year.

The data release (DfE, 2023a) shows that 39,930 teachers left teaching for reasons other than retirement in the last academic year (2021/22). This represents 8.8% of the workforce and is the highest number since records began in 2010.

Added to the 3,929 who retired, this means 44,000 teachers left schools last year (9.7%).

Of particular concern is the high and increasing proportion of new teachers who continue to quit each year.

The figures show that in 2021/22, a quarter of teachers (23.9%) had quit after three years at the chalkface. After five years, almost a third (31.3%) had walked away.

And despite the introduction of the Early Career Framework and improved rates of pay for new teachers, 12.8% of teachers have quit after just one year at the chalkface.

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