Attracting and Retaining Teachers in Cambridgeshire
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Teacher shortages could be a real threat in Cambridgeshire. Unless more new secondary school teachers are attracted and retained, a shortage of qualified teachers could be imminent in Cambridgeshire.
RAND Europe recommends further exploration of the association between teachers’ working and living conditions, as well as research to identify reasons why not enough teachers are attracted to work in Cambridgeshire and why teachers are leaving the profession.
The number of school-aged children in Cambridgeshire is projected to increase over the next ten years. Therefore, ensuring a sufficient teacher supply in Cambridgeshire will be of great importance. Measures to maintain the area as an attractive area to work will be needed, especially to attract secondary school teachers for STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) given the growing demand for future STEM professionals in the region.
Cambridge Ahead, a business and academic member group dedicated to the successful growth of Cambridge and the wider county, asked RAND Europe to examine factors which may mean or lead to secondary school teacher shortages in Cambridgeshire.
The research aimed to provide information to help gauge the extent to which secondary school teacher shortages are currently present and likely to be present in the future in Cambridgeshire. The results were compared to the national UK landscape and three other regions — Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire and Inner London.
The report used the School Workforce (SWF) Census to explore working conditions (pay, type of contract and employment status) and flows (numbers of new entries and leavers) of teachers in Cambridgeshire as compared to elsewhere in the country between 2010 and 2015. The report also used data from secondary school teachers working in state-funded establishments. Basic descriptive statistics — primarily counts and cross-tabulations — were used to explore these aspects and are presented in the form of percentages.
Overall, teacher shortages could be a real threat in Cambridgeshire. The findings strongly suggest that unless more new secondary school teachers are attracted and retained, a shortage of qualified teachers could be imminent in Cambridgeshire. This is largely due to two reasons:
- Cambridgeshire may be seeing insufficient replacement rates of secondary school teachers. Our findings point to a larger gap between the proportions of new entries and retirees in Cambridgeshire compared to the national level. The difference is even starker for secondary school teachers of STEM-related subjects. Cambridgeshire also experienced smaller proportions of entries and higher proportions of retirement than the three other regions which were examined in the analysis.
- Working conditions for secondary teachers in Cambridgeshire are becoming less attractive. Compared to the national average, secondary school teachers in Cambridgeshire are more likely to:
- earn a salary within lower pay ranges;
- work part-time; and
- work under fixed-term or temporary contracts (since 2010).
Explore the association between teachers’ working and living conditions. Future research should explore how certain aspects of working conditions, such as low pay, are related to other aspects associated with the quality of life of the local area, such as housing costs.
Identify reasons why not enough teachers are attracted to work in Cambridgeshire and why teachers are leaving the profession. Collecting data about the work satisfaction of Cambridgeshire secondary school teachers and reasons to join and leave the profession will contribute to a better overall understanding of the identified leaver and entry flows.