Reporting year 2019

School workforce in England

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  1. Data corrupted and replaced by service team - no changes

  2. File added collating school level information in the same format as in previous years: 'school tables school workforce census 2019'

  3. Correction made to the metadata for "Teacher and support staff FTE and headcount numbers" underlying data. This had resulted in the headcount figures being mislabelled in the 'create tables' tool.

Release type


This publication provides the latest information on the composition of the school workforce employed in state-funded schools in England. 

The release is based on data collected from schools and local authorities in November 2019 as part of the School Workforce Census. The census collects detailed information on teachers, teaching assistants and other classroom and non-classroom based school support staff. 

Independent schools, non-maintained special schools, sixth form colleges and further education establishments are not in scope.

Headline facts and figures - 2019

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The size of the schools' workforce

In November 2019, there were the full-time equivalent of 945,805 people working in state-funded schools in England. Of these, 453,813 were teachers.

95% of teachers held qualified teacher status, a similar to proportion to recent years.

Entrants, leavers and changes in working pattern

There were 43,406 FTE qualified new entrants to teaching in state-funded schools in 2019. This includes:

  • 23,064 newly qualified teachers (53% of all entrants)
  • 15,754 who are returning to teaching after a break (36% of all entrants)
  • 2,611 deferred NQTs (6% of all entrants)
  • 1,977 teachers new to the state-funded sector (5% of all entrants)

The overall entrants rate was 10%, lower than in 2018 when the rate was 10.4%. 


There were 39,675 FTE qualified teachers who left teaching in state-funded schools in 2019. This includes:

  • 33,565 qualified teachers who are out of service (84.6% of all leavers). These are teachers who are taking a break from teaching (e.g. career break, secondment) and who may come back as returners in a later year, and those leaving the profession.
  • 5,979 in service qualified teachers who retired (15.1% of all leavers). See the Teacher retirements section below for further details.
  • 131 qualified teachers who died whilst in service (0.3% of all leavers)

The overall leavers rate was 9.2%, lower than 2018 when the rate was 9.6%. 

The number of teachers who enter and leave the profession are not the only factors in changing FTE qualified teacher numbers between years. In 2019, 3.7% of qualified teachers increased their working hours, by either moving from part time to full time working or remaining part time but increasing their weekly hours. A greater percentage decreased their working hours. In 2019,  5.4% of teachers decreased their working hours, either by moving from full to part time working or by remaining part time but decreasing their weekly hours. Such changes in working pattern produced a decrease equivalent to approximately 3,200 FTE qualified teachers between 2018 and 2019. 


There have been some methodological improvements to the entrants and leavers calculations which have slightly the changed the timeseries relative to the data previously published in June 2019. Please see the methodology section for more information.

Teacher retirements

Retirements due to age have seen a steady decline each year since 2011, to 2019. 

Teacher retention

Of the teachers who qualified in 2018, 85.4% are still in service one year after qualification. This retention rate is slightly higher than the previous year when the one-year retention rate was 85.1%.  In general, one-year retention rates have declined slightly in each year since 2011, with this year being the first increase.

Of the teachers who qualified in 2014, 67.4% are still in service after 5 years. This is lower than the five-year retention rate seen in the previous year, when the figure was 68.0%. 

Pupil teacher ratios (PTR)

The pupil teacher ratios (PTRs) are derived by combining FTE teacher numbers from the November School Workforce Census with the FTE pupil numbers from the following January School Census. These pupil numbers are published in the School, Pupils and their Characteristics statistical release, also published on 25 June 2020.

Pupil teacher ratios have either remained stable or increased slightly for all school types: 

  • In state-funded primary schools, the PTR has remained at 20.9 in both 2018 and 2019 despite a continued increased in pupil numbers.
  • In state-funded secondary schools, the PTR has risen from 16.3 in 2018 to 16.6 in 2019, continuing the trend of year-on-year increases seen since 2012.
  • In state-funded special schools and PRUs, PTRs are much lower, however there has been a small increase from 5.8 in 2018 to 5.9 in 2019, continuing the trend of year-on-year increases seen since 2013.

The pupil teacher ratios quoted above are based on all teachers (both qualified and qualified). Rising pupil numbers will affect PTRs, e.g. an increase in pupil numbers without a corresponding rise in the number of teachers will cause PTRs to rise. Information taken from the latest published pupil projections data shows the nursery and primary school population has been rising since 2008 and reached 4.65 million in 2019. However, the population is projected to drop in 2020 and beyond, due to the reduction in births from 2013 onwards. The secondary school population rose to 2.92 million in 2019 and is projected to continue increasing until around 2024. 

PTR data for  2010 to 2017 can be found in our previous statistical release on (opens in a new tab)

Teacher pay

The following statistics show the average (mean) salaries, in cash terms (unadjusted for inflation) received by teachers who were in post in schools that were open on census day in November 2019. 

Comparisons between years are given but should not be used as an indication of pay awards as they do not compare like for like. For example, in each year many teachers retire and are replaced by newly qualified teachers. The older teachers, many of whom will have been in the leadership group, will have been on higher salaries than those who are new to teaching. 

In 2019, the average FTE salary for all teachers in state-funded schools was £40,537 per annum – an increase of over £1,000 compared with 2018. 

  • The average FTE salary for all full and part-time classroom teachers in all state funded schools was £37,192.
  • Salaries are higher for leadership teachers (excluding headteachers), the average salary in 2019 being £54,911.
  • The average salary for a headteacher was £71,655 in 2019.

Average salaries are higher for male teachers across all grades: 

  • For male classroom teachers the average salary was £37,885 compared to £36,985 for female.
  • For headteachers the average salary for males was £77,362 compared to £68,870 for females.

Average salaries vary by type of school: 

  • The average salary of a nursery and primary classroom teacher was £35,673
  • The average salary of a secondary classroom teacher was £38,674
  • The average salary of a special school classroom teacher was £37,638.
  • Average salaries for classroom and other leadership teachers are higher on average in LA maintained schools than academies. The average salary for headteachers is however, higher in academies than in LA maintained schools.

Teachers' qualifications

Of the 96.8% of teachers for whom we hold qualifications data, the majority (98.8%) hold qualifications at degree level or higher - this includes those with a first degree or higher, a Bachelor of Education degree or a Postgraduate Certificate of Education.

There were 1,721 teachers holding a non-UK qualification, 0.4% of the total.

Subjects taught and specialist teachers

The timetabling information collected on the curriculum delivered is provided by a large sample of secondary schools.  This is then weighted to produce national level figures. Further information on this is in the accompanying methodology document. Where teachers have both timetabling information and qualifications data these can be combined to show whether teachers have relevant post A level qualifications in the subjects they are teaching.

EBacc subjects

In 2019, 64.7% of teaching hours at Key Stage 3 were spent teaching the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects of mathematics and English, all sciences (including computer science), history, geography and all modern languages. At Key Stage 4 this rose to 67.8%.

In total, 68.8% of all secondary teachers taught at least one EBacc subject, with 87.8% of all hours taught in EBacc subjects being taught by a teacher with a relevant post A level qualification. 

For the individual EBacc subjects, the majority of hours taught are taught by a teacher who holds a relevant post A level qualification in the subject they are teaching. The exception to this is computing, where in 2019 47.3% of hours were taught by a teacher with a relevant post A level qualification, the same as in 2018. 

Other subjects

In 2019, 35.3% of teaching hours at Key Stage 3 were spent teaching non EBacc subjects, including arts subjects, design and technology, religious education and physical education. At Key Stage 4 this decreased to 32.2%. These figures are slightly lower than in 2018. 

Teacher characteristics


In 2019, a third of all teachers (166,426) were aged between 30 and 39. Only 5.2% were under 25 (26,290) and 2.6% over 60 (12,933).


The headcount of male teachers in all state-funded schools was 121,356 which was 24.2% of all teachers. For headteachers, a higher proportion were male (32.7%, a headcount of 7,335), while for classroom teachers it was 23.1% (99,124). This is similar to previous years.


There were 66,039 teachers, or 14.3% of all teachers who described themselves as being in a minority ethnic group* (where ethnicity information had been provided). This is up from 11.2% of all teachers in 2010.

*minority ethnic group here is any ethnic group excluding White-British

Teacher vacancies

The number of teacher vacancies are in line with 2018 and temporarily filled teacher posts have declined in number.

Teacher absences

Between 2011 and 2019 the percentage of teachers taking sickness absence has fallen from 55.8% to 54.0% in 2018/19. 

The teacher sickness absence rate in 2018/19 was 4.1 days per teacher, an increase from  4.0 in 2017/18.

Of those teachers taking sickness absence, the average number of days taken has fallen, from an average of 8.2 days in 2010/11 to 7.5 days in 2018/19.

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Find out how and why we collect, process and publish these statistics.

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Contact us

If you have a specific enquiry about School workforce in England statistics and data:

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Contact name: Tony Clarke
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