The NFER blog

Evidence for excellence in education


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Retaining teachers in Wales – what do we know?

By Jack Worth and Jennifer Garry

As we have previously reported, government statistics show that retaining working age teachers in England appears to have been getting more difficult, while our latest survey data suggests this trend may now be reversing. Last month the Education Select Committee published a report on teacher recruitment and retention in England, urging the Government to “place greater emphasis on retaining teachers and not just focus on the necessary task of recruiting new teachers”. But what do we know about teachers in Wales? Continue reading


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The use of R&D in schools inches forward

By Claudia Sumner

2017 began with the announcement that the new Chartered College of Teaching (CCoT) is to provide all members with access to published research.  This is welcome news.  A newly published NFER report, ‘Insights into the Role of Research and Development in Teaching Schools’ has found that accessing research evidence (which is often behind the paywall of an academic publisher) is one of the hurdles facing schools wishing to become research-engaged. But the challenge of making teaching an evidence-based profession is one that policy makers and educators have been grappling with for a number of years and, while the CCoT has made a welcome first step, barriers go far beyond the ability to click on a journal article. Continue reading


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London Callings

By Jack Worth and Louis Coiffait

Although the proportions of teachers joining and leaving the profession in London is largely balanced, as in the rest of the country, both occur at higher levels in the capital. New NFER analysis finds that, relative to the rest of England, London faces the greatest challenges retaining its school teachers and leaders. A higher share of working-age staff are leaving to teach elsewhere in England or in other London education jobs, or are becoming unemployed. Continue reading


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Putting staff engagement at the heart of school leadership

By David Weston

NFER has shown that engaging staff lies at the heart of retaining them but how do school leaders put that into action? The report suggests that there a number of aspects of staff engagement that are particularly  associated with staff retention, including job satisfaction, having adequate resources, reward and recognition, and being well-supported by management. Continue reading


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Developing spelling tests: what’s so hard about that?

By Laura Lynn

In 2014, NFER released its year five spelling suite, consisting of a set of three spelling tests and a teacher guide, followed by complementary suites for years three and four in 2015. The development of each suite took at least 12 months. Continue reading


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What are we to make of the latest School Workforce statistics?

By Jack Worth

At a time when trainee targets are being missed, retaining the teachers already in the profession becomes all the more important. Teacher retention has been the focus of a programme of NFER research, including our Should I Stay or Should I Go? report last November and forthcoming research examining the experiences and intentions of teachers.

Yesterday’s School Workforce statistics show that the rate of teachers leaving the profession has jumped to the highest level since 2011, with 10 per cent of teachers having left between November 2014 and November 2015. In terms of teacher headcount, the proportion of teachers leaving is the highest since at least 2005. Continue reading


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Can schools in the most deprived areas hang on to their teachers?

By Susie Bamford

Teacher recruitment and retention is still high on the political agenda with claims that it is the biggest challenge facing England’s schools and cries that a crisis is unfolding. One current focus is on recruiting teachers to schools in deprived areas. But once they get there will they stay?
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The rise of Edu-Twitter: chat, collaboration and CPD

By Karen Wespieser

Globally, Twitter is stagnating with some even saying the end is nigh for the micro-blogging site. However, in the education sphere, Twitter is booming. It even has its own abbreviated proper noun: Edu-Twitter. In 2014, of the half a billion tweets that were posted every day, 4.2 million were related to education. This weekend, @theNFER reached the milestone of 10,000 followers, so it seems a good time to reflect on what Twitter means in education and why it is so popular.
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EBacc teacher recruitment and retention: even more challenging times ahead?

By Susie Bamford

Secondary schools face particular teacher recruitment and retention challenges, especially in some English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects. This was one of the conclusions of NFER’s report last November, Should I Stay or Should I Go: NFER Analysis of Teachers Joining and Leaving the Profession. The report was well received, primarily for its fresh and independent take on the emotive topic of a so-called workforce crisis. Continue reading