Cover: Attracting and retaining teachers in Cambridgeshire

Attracting and retaining teachers in Cambridgeshire

Working conditions and teacher flows from a School Workforce Census data perspective

Published Dec 30, 2016

by Julie Belanger, Miriam Broeks

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Research Questions

  1. How do the working conditions (in terms of pay, type of contract and employment status) of Cambridgeshire state-funded secondary school teachers compare to the national situation?
  2. How do the teacher flows (proportions of new teacher entries and leavers) of Cambridgeshire state-funded secondary school teachers compare to the national situation?
  3. To what extent are teacher shortages a real threat to Cambridgeshire compared to the national situation and the situation of other Local Authorities in England?

This report explores the working conditions and flows of state-funded secondary school teachers in Cambridgeshire compared to a select number of other local authorities and to the English national landscape as a whole between 2010 and 2015. It also presents findings for different subjects, highlighting the situation for science, technology, engineering and mathematics related subjects. The analyses use the School Workforce Census data.

Key Findings

Working conditions for secondary teachers in Cambridgeshire are becoming less attractive.

  • Compared to the national average, teachers in Cambridgeshire (1) are more likely to earn a salary within lower pay ranges, (2) are more likely to work part-time, and (3) since 2010 have seen an increase in their chances to work under fixed-term or temporary contracts. These conditions may be making Cambridgeshire less attractive than other LAs for teachers to work.

Cambridgeshire may be seeing insufficient replacement rates of secondary teachers

  • Our findings point to a larger gap between the proportions of new entries and the proportions of retirees in Cambridgeshire compared to the national level. The difference is even starker for teachers of STEM-related subjects. Overall, Cambridgeshire also experienced smaller proportions of entries and higher proportions of retirement than three other LAs which we examined in the analysis, namely, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire and Inner London.

Teacher shortages are a real threat for Cambridgeshire

  • The analyses suggest that teacher shortages are a real threat for Cambridgeshire, since the replacement rates of teachers leaving their teaching posts are likely insufficient and given that increasingly less attractive working conditions were identified compared to the national situation.


  • The findings suggest that unless greater numbers of new teachers are attracted and retained, experiencing a shortage of teachers may be imminent for Cambridgeshire. Therefore, collecting data on Cambridgeshire teachers specifically regarding their work satisfaction, reasons to join and leave the profession will help to better understand leaver and entry flows.
  • Future research looking at housing prices and other costs of living in Cambridgeshire is needed to see how these may conflate with this reports' findings on teacher working conditions and flows. Such research can then inform future policy efforts to make the area more attractive to work.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was conducted by RAND Europe.

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