Tuesday 6 July 2021 / 11:45 AM Education

Labour warns of teacher exodus post-Covid as Tory failures drive record numbers of new teachers out of the profession

Schools are facing mass departures of teaching staff after the pandemic, as new analysis from Labour reveals that even before Covid more newly-qualified teachers were leaving schools than ever before

According to analysis by the Education Policy Institute, the proportion of teachers intending to leave the profession has almost doubled since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, with 71 per cent of surveyed teachers reporting that the Government’s handling of Covid has made them more likely to leave.

Yet the situation was already worsening pre-pandemic. Labour analysis of school workforce data shows that the proportion of newly qualified teachers leaving within one year of qualifying has risen throughout a decade of Conservative governments. Between 2011 and 2019, the proportion of teachers leaving the profession within one year increased by 25 per cent – a potential loss of over 3,500 new teachers.

Pupils are now more likely to be in overcrowded classes, with the ratio of pupils to teachers in state-funded secondary schools at its highest point since 2011. This is piling extra pressure on teachers, and has exacerbated the impacts of the pandemic with bigger bubbles requiring more children to isolate out of school.

Meanwhile, the number of teacher vacancies has more than doubled since 2011, with over 1,000 teaching posts currently unfilled.

Shadow Schools’ Minister, Peter Kyle MP, is warning that the Government’s refusal to back teachers through Labour’s National Children’s Recovery Plan will put a generation of children’s futures at risk.

Peter Kyle MP, Labour’s Shadow Schools’ Minister, said:

“The Conservatives’ mismanagement of education is driving teachers from their classrooms leaving pupils without the personal support they need to thrive. ​And this is only likely to get worse as we exit the pandemic.

“Gavin Williamson’s clown-like mismanagement of our schools is beyond a joke. It’s threatening to derail the life chances of all of our kids and exacerbate the gap in learning that is seeing kids on free school meals falling further behind their peers.

“Teachers and school leaders have worked incredibly hard to support children through the pandemic. Now the Government needs to support them, and back Labour’s Children’s Recovery Plan – investing in school staff to ensure every pupil gets the help they need to bounce back from the pandemic and reach their potential.”