Why are teachers in the UK leaving the profession?

Published on 27th April, 2017 by Andrew Wigford. Published in For Candidates / TIC News

A* Star Teachers and TIC Recruitment look at the British teacher exodus

Many British teachers are leaving the UK state education system and many more are planning to do so. Some choose to move into a different profession or to independent schools in the UK, many others choose to teach abroad at international schools. 

Why teachers leave

The reasons behind so many people leaving the profession vary. According to recent research compiled by A* Star Teachers, the prime causes seem to be the excessive workload, the need for a better work/life balance, unreasonable demands, and too much organisational change.

The research (pictured below) highlights average pay scales for teachers in the UK by role and region, as well as the common reasons why teachers say they leave UK state school education. In the first half of 2016, the sector experienced a loss of 9.5% full-time staff says the study. 57% of the teachers who were surveyed said they were leaving to seek a better work/life balance; a situation often quoted by teachers who have moved to international schools. 

Teaching overseas offers more for teachers

Teacher Janet Berg is an example. Janet moved from the UK to teach at Doha British School in the Middle East four years ago. She lists the benefits of teaching in Qatar: “Luxury, Fabulous trips at weekends as well as during the holidays, amazing weather, a gorgeous apartment, many opportunities to socialise and enjoy life, and very good teaching experiences too,” says Janet. “It would be difficult to match my lifestyle, work-life balance, and benefits if I moved back to the UK to teach. I plan to teach here as long as possible; I enjoy it so much!” she adds.

Richard Downs also moved from the UK with his wife and two young children after becoming disenchanted with teaching in England. “Teaching is a great profession,” he explains. “But teaching in the UK didn't enable my family to lead the kind of lifestyle I wanted us to lead. I felt the UK education system was beginning to go down a path I disagreed with, with a momentum that could not be stopped. I started looking around for reputable international schools overseas which would be both suitable for my children to attend, but also located in a place where we could enjoy new experiences, and have great holidays...And that's how we ended up in Bangkok!”

Read Janet’s story of her teaching job in the Middle East here. And read Richard’s story of his life in Thailand here.

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Andrew Wigford

Andrew is Managing Director of TIC. He has been involved in international education both as a teacher and Headteacher for over 25 years and has worked in Germany, Colombia and Austria. He set up TIC recruitment in 2005 to help teachers find great jobs in great international schools.