Despite the government's best efforts to promote teacher recruitment, new research shows that over half of primary teachers in their second year in profession are thinking of quitting as a result of growing dissatisfaction with the job.
Contrary to common assumptions that NQTs (newly qualified teachers) are at the highest risk of quitting, it appears that - as per data collected by education experts PlanBee - those who have endured an academic year and have embarked on a second are the most vulnerable to feeling overwhelmed by the growing workload, with 45% of NQTs thinking of quitting compared to 57% of RQTs (recently qualified teachers).
Between 2016 and 2017, the rate of new entrants to the teaching profession declined despite the fact that in England the number of pupils in our schools is set to rise by about 500,000 over the next five years, making it increasingly hard to see how schools will cope with the shortfall, which currently sits at 30,000 teachers across the workforce as a whole.
"If you’re a teacher and have never [considering leaving], then I don’t believe that person is doing an outstanding job," said one anonymous teacher who has been in the job fewer than three years. "The amount that this job requires is unimaginable. I spend hours on end planning. Every day I work, even Saturday and Sunday."
Having interviewed 300 teachers, PlanBee revealed that one in six teachers identified lesson-planning as one of the most onerous parts of their workload, while 38% of RQTs cite planning as the main issue and 15% admitted to devoting 10 to 12 hours per week to marking alone.
When asked for reasons that led them to consider leaving the profession, an NQT said: "It’s a profession in which the demands and expectations are exceptional, yet the societal negativity and dismissiveness is relentless. Not a great combination, really."
Another senior member of the profession summed up teachers' frustration, stressing that while they got huge satisfaction from teaching itself, theywere dragged down by the excessive workload. "I love being in the classroom and teaching," they said. "It is the planning, marking, and recording that get me down."
PlanBee Director Becky Cranham said: "Our survey should really set alarm bells ringing. One would hope that young teachers are becoming less overwhelmed by the demands of their career as time goes on, but this clearly isn’t the case.
"The Government needs to get its skates on when it comes to implementing proposals on workload reduction," Becky added.