School workforce statistics reveals worrying trends


The Department for Education (DfE) has released statistics on the composition of the school workforce. The key statistics are taken from the School Workforce Census, completed by local authorities and schools in November 2017.The census collects detailed information on teachers, teaching assistants and other non-classroom based school support staff. The release finds worrying trends in the recruitment and retention of the school workforce and shows that:

Teacher numbers have fallen in 2017:

  • The total full time employed (FTE) number of teachers in all schools has fallen by 1.2 per cent, from 457,200 to 451,900 between 2016 and 2017.
  • Compared to 2016, the number of FTE nursery and primary teachers fell by 0.6 per cent.
  • In the same period, FTE secondary teacher numbers fell by 1.9 per cent.

The rate of entry into teaching and leavers out of teaching are now at the same level:

  • The total number of FTE qualified entrants to teaching has decreased 9.9 per cent from 45,500 in 2015 to 42,400 in 2017.
  • Over the same period the proportion of FTE qualified teachers leaving teaching has remained consistent at (9.9 per cent).

The secondary school population is increasing:

  • The rate of increase in nursery and primary pupil numbers has been slowing and is projected to stabilise in 2019.
  • However, the secondary school population started to rise in 2016 and is projected to increase to 3.1 million by 2020. It is expected to peak at 3.3 million pupils by 2025.

The increase in pupil teacher ratios (PTR):

  • Between 2016 and 2017, the PTR increased and is now at 17.9:1 – up 0.3 on 2016.
  • In the nursery/primary sector there was an increase of 0.3 taking the PTR to 20.9:1
  • In secondary there has been a continued increase from 2012 (when it was 14.9:1) and between 2016 and 2017, the PTR is up 0.4 to 16:1.

You can read the full statistical release here