Ofsted highlights teacher retention crisis caused by “morale drain”

Date: 26.02.16
Response to February 2016 monthly commentary from Ofsted Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw.


26 February 2016 

Ofsted highlights teacher retention crisis caused by “morale drain” 

Responding to the February 2016 monthly commentary from Ofsted Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw, which highlights the problems of teachers leaving the UK, Deborah Lawson, General Secretary of teachers’ and headteachers’ union Voice: the union for education professionals, said:

“Sir Michael’s commentary highlights the fact that there is a retention crisis in our schools as well as the more high profile recruitment crisis.

“The ‘brain drain’ is largely the result of a morale drain amongst teachers.

“Voice agrees that there is a need to be candid about the successes of the education system, which is successful because of the professionalism of qualified teachers who are dedicated to providing a high level of education for pupils.

“However, with the demands of a punitive accountability system, combined with ridiculously high demands and unachievable workloads, for limited reward – given the stagnant pay provision available – it isn’t surprising that there is a retention and recruitment crisis.

“Government-imposed workload, bureaucratic burdens, changes to the curriculum and assessment, and unrealistic targets are serious problems that must be addressed.

Ofsted should also shoulder some of the blame. The Ofsted 'fear factor' drives many schools to 'gold-plate' evidence prior to inspection, increasing teachers' workload. Voice would like to see inspections become supportive, rather than punitive, and involve professional dialogue, mutual trust and proportionality.

“All of these factors greatly increase the hours teachers work outside the classroom. Working long hours has a detrimental effect on teachers' morale and work-life balance. Excessive workload is an issue that drives many teachers out of the profession.

“Voice believes in the professionalism of teachers and we represent our members’ concerns and views, based on their experiences in the classroom. Raising these legitimate concerns should not be confused with ‘running down the profession’, so we welcome Sir Michael’s comments on theneed to ‘talk up’ the profession – something that we believe in and practise.

“Politicians and the media in particular ‘need to demonstrate to our teachers through action as well as words that their country needs them and that it values the job they do’.

“As a union based in Derby, we are particularly pleased by Sir Michael’s call for independent schools to be ‘more Derby, less Dubai’!” 


Further information

HMCI's monthly commentary: February 2016

Voice’s written evidence to the Commons Education Committee’s Inquiry ‘Supply of Teachers’

Voice blog post with further evidence and examples

Workload challenge

"The Government is in denial over teacher recruitment and retention": Huffington Post blogs, 10 February 2016



Voice Press Office
Email: pressoffice@voicetheunion.org.uk

General Secretary Deborah Lawson
Email: deborahlawson@voicetheunion.org.uk

Tel: 01332 372337