The Department has commissioned a six-year longitudinal study of teachers' experiences of initial teacher training and early professional development. The project, “Becoming a Teacher”, started in 2003 with a sample of trainees in their final year of initial teacher training and is ongoing as it follows them through their early career. Ninety-one per cent. of survey respondents who were currently teaching or planning to be in teaching in the following term indicated that they expected to still be in teaching in four years' time. At the time of the survey there were 106 participants who had worked as a teacher since completing their training but were not now working as a teacher and were not looking for a teaching post. Reasons cited included being unable to find a job, behaviour of pupils/pupil discipline, deciding to move into another career, family reasons/commitments and workload. However, over half the respondents anticipated returning to teaching in the future.
This area has been researched extensively, and the Department has also commissioned a series of reports by Smithers and Robinson, published in 2003, 2004, 2005 to investigate teacher turnover, wastage and destinations.
It should be noted that many teachers return to service after a break. In 2005-06, the latest year for which figures are available, around 10,000 qualified teachers returned to service in the maintained sector (all school types) after a break of at least one year.