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The effect of retention and turnover on the teaching workforce

Researchers: Jude Hillary

Project overview

This project aims to understand the factors associated with teacher retention, turnover and returning to teaching, and how the teaching profession compares to other professions, such as nursing and policing. 

Recruiting and retaining enough teachers to serve growing numbers of pupils is one of the key challenges currently facing England’s education system.

The researchers will build on previous NFER research that investigated how engaged and supported teachers feel and how this relates to their intention to remain or leave in the profession. They will use the School Workforce Census to determine the key factors associated with a teacher leaving the profession (retention) or moving within the sector (turnover). They will also analyse data from the Understanding Society longitudinal study to examine the external and personal factors associated with labour market behaviour, and examine the experience in other public sector professions.

A series of working papers and roundtable meetings are planned throughout the project as well as an interim report in July 2017 and a final report planned for publication in early 2018.

Latest on this project


  • Jude Hillary
    National Foundation for Educational Research

  • Director, Education
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

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