Education International
Education International

UK: Neglect pushes teachers out of the profession

published 26 February 2016 updated 2 March 2016

The British public education service is haemorrhaging teachers, many of whom are either seeking better conditions outside of the United Kingdom or contemplating a career change to flee precarious employment.

Responding to the recent comments made by the Chief Inspector of Schools In England, Sir Michael Wilshaw, on the number of teachers leaving the system to teach abroad, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, an Education International (EI) affiliate in the UK, said that it was “another stark consequence of government policy.”

“The public education service is haemorrhaging teachers, not just to go abroad; equal numbers are leaving teaching to go to other more financially competitive jobs,” she added. One of the biggest problems is schools, she underlined, is not even offering newly qualified teachers permanent posts.

Teaching profession globally neglected

The situation in the UK is not an isolated case. As union leaders and governments prepare to meet in Berlin for the 6th International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP), EI has issued a briefing document in which the neglect of the teaching professionals in terms of training and career perspectives is one of the main points of concern.

The briefing note, which can be accessed online, has been issued in parallel to OECD's own background report for the Summit, " Teaching excellence through professional learning and policy reform.” Both documents stress the importance of providing teachers with enough space for development before and during their career so that they can adapt to the needs of education in our rapidly changing societies.