Three new EEF initiatives to improve teacher retention

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has launched three new initiatives focused on improving teacher retention – including a large trial looking at the effectiveness of different teaching training routes - it was announced today. 

Teacher recruitment and retention, particularly in the most disadvantaged schools and areas, is one of the most critical issues facing the English education system. Government targets for teacher recruitment have been missed for six consecutive years, and a third of new teachers leave within the first five years of joining the profession. Finding effective ways to train and keep teachers is key to tackling the challenge. These new studies will provide schools and government with much needed evidence in this area.

Teacher training routes

There are many different routes into teaching, but little is known about the impact these different routes have on pupil attainment and teacher retention. To find out, teachers in 350 primary schools will take part in an evaluation of Teachers in Disadvantaged Primary Schools, a large matched study run by a team from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).

The study will compare three different routes into teaching and the impact they have on primary school pupils’ maths results, as well as teacher retention. The three groups the researchers will look at are: 

  • Newly-qualified teachers (NQTs) who have trained though Teach First and are in their second year of training.
  • NQTs who have been trained the previous year in university-led routes, like taking a PGCE.
  • NQTs who have been trained through other school-based routes like School Direct.

Retaining physics teachers

A second study launched today is funded through a partnership between the EEF and Wellcome to test different ways of improving the retention of science teachers. This group of teachers is more likely to leave the profession within their first five years of teaching than non-science teachers.

300 secondary schools will take part in a trial of KEEP Teaching, a programme run by the Institute of Physics (IoP) that aims to improve retention rates for physics-specialist teachers. The IoP has identified key factors that help physics graduates’ transition through their NQT year. This programme supports schools to provide the conditions physics specialists need to stay in the profession. 

Supporting new teachers

As part of its recent strategy to improve teacher recruitment and retention in England, the Department for Education is increasing the level of support that new teachers get. The Early Career Framework (ECF) sets out the body of knowledge and skills that all teachers should be trained in, extends the induction period for newly qualified teachers from one year to two years, and provides funding for increased time off-timetable and mentoring during this period.

The EEF is supporting the introduction and evaluation of the Framework in schools. As part of this support, the EEF will pilot three different ways of supporting early career teachers. In one, the Chartered College of Teaching will provide online training for early-career teachers and their mentors.

The new organisation that has come out of the merger between Ambition School Institute and the Institute for Teaching will run two further pilots of face-to-face training that aim to increase the effectiveness of mentoring.

The first will focus exclusively on training the mentor, and the second will provide additional support directly to the early-career teacher from external experts.

 Sir Kevan Collins Chief Executive of the EEF, said:

We know that high-quality teaching is the thing that makes the biggest difference to young people’s academic grades. Yet recruiting and retaining teachers – particularly to disadvantaged schools - is challenging.

If we don’t get more great teachers to join – and more importantly – stay in the profession over the next few years, it will be the poorest pupils who lose out the most.

The three new programmes we’ve announced today will generate much needed evidence to help schools, government and teacher training providers decide how to train and keep effective teachers.

Notes to editors

  1. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is a grant-making charity set up in 2011 by the Sutton Trust as lead foundation in partnership with Impetus Trust (now part of Impetus–The Private Equity Foundation), with a £125m founding grant from the Department for Education. The EEF is dedicated to breaking the link between family income and educational achievement.
  2. Schools in England can apply to take part in the trials. More information can be found on the EEF’s website.