Teaching has become less attractive as there are limited opportunities for home working and the profession is not as “family-friendly as it once was”, MPs have heard.
Recruitment into teacher training is at “crisis levels” and teacher retention is “poor” in England, experts from think tanks have warned.
Addressing the education select committee, Philip Nye, a data scientist at the Institute for Government (IfG), said: “Teaching I think, historically, has been seen as quite family-friendly. You get the long summer break which if you have family responsibilities could be very useful.
“But now, perhaps compared to other non-public sector roles, it is not as flexible and family-friendly as it once was.”
Robin Walker, chair of the education committee, said he had heard anecdotally of supermarkets “offering term-time only” and school hours jobs.
He said: “(It) seems to be relatively new and creating a lot of tension, particularly for teaching assistants – for the people below the teacher level in schools – but actually that seems to be a big competitive pressure which people are really feeling.”
Dr Luke Sibieta, a research fellow at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), highlighted to MPs that more employees in the private sector have been allowed to work from home since the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said: “It makes teaching a bit less competitive because it can’t really offer that kind of work from home or flexible options.”
Addressing MPs on Tuesday, Dr Sibieta added: “Teacher recruitment and retention, I think to be blunt, is in quite a poor place in England at the moment.”
Figures released by the Department for Education (DfE) last December revealed that just 59% of its target for secondary subject trainees was reached in 2022-23, down from 79% in 2021-22.
Mr Nye told MPs: “It’s fair to say I think recruitment to ITT (initial teacher training) is at crisis levels.”