Skip to main content

Teacher Retention

Volume 598: debated on Monday 20 July 2015

8. What assessment her Department has made of recent trends in teacher retention; and if she will make a statement. (901093)

Statistics published earlier this month show that teacher retention has remained broadly stable for a number of years. Eighty seven per cent of teachers who qualified in 2013 were teaching a year later; this figure has remained roughly constant in each year since 2005. Seventy seven per cent of teachers who qualified in 2011 were still teaching three years later; and 60% of teachers remain in the classroom 10 years after qualifying.

Various recent polls have shown that up to 68% of teachers have considered leaving the profession altogether in the next 12 months. In my constituency, the prohibitive cost of housing contributes to that figure. Heads say that that prevents teachers from staying beyond their initial teacher training. What steps will the Department take to head off the coming teacher crisis in London?

I do not recognise the hon. Lady’s figures. Our figures show that 52% of those who qualified in 1996 are still teaching 18 years later. We are doing an enormous amount to encourage teachers to stay in the profession and graduates to come into the profession. We are tackling the workload problem and poor behaviour in schools and we are improving teacher training.

We hear a lot of noise from the Opposition about how there is a so-called crisis in teacher recruitment. Will the Minister put things into perspective by explaining to the House the comparison between the number of people joining the teaching profession compared with that of those leaving the profession over the past decade?

My hon. Friend makes a good point. So far this year, for example, we have received 24,000 acceptances on to teaching training programmes at universities and schools. That is marginally ahead of where we were this time last year. We have exceeded targets for primary school trainees and for history and PE teachers, and we are ahead on acceptances for maths, physics, chemistry and design and technology compared with this time last year. We do not underestimate the challenges, but those are the challenges that come from a strong economy, and I would rather have that than a weak economy.

I should declare that I am an unpaid member of the London borough of Redbridge and a member of the governing body of Grove primary school in Chadwell Heath. Just last week, both Labour and Conservative councillors expressed concern about the school places crisis in Redbridge. Given that we have one of the fastest growing populations in London, what assurance can the Minister give us that we will receive the funding necessary for additional schools and school places and that there will be the teachers there to staff them?

The hon. Gentleman was not here under the previous Labour Government when they cut 200,000 primary school places in the middle of a baby boom. One of the first decisions that we had to take in 2010 was to double the amount of spending on creating more school places. Some £5 billion was spent in the previous Parliament and £7 billion will be spent in this one.