Reporting Year 2020

School workforce in England

Published
Last updated
See all updates (3)
  1. Note added to Entrants and leavers section relating to a revision that has been made to the 2020 data in the 2021 release

  2. Corrections to figures for English Baccalaureate subjects hours taught (2020/21) and to 'Support_staff_characteristics_by_school' zip file (2020/21) removing duplicate rows for schools in Dorset (838) local authority.

  3. School level summary file added

This release is largely based on the School Workforce Census. The census collects information from schools and local authorities on the school workforce in state-funded schools in England.

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

The latest data relates to November 2020 and so this is the first data in the series to relate to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Change to statistics

To reduce burden on schools and local authorities during the pandemic, data on qualifications and staff absences were not collected in 2020. They will be collected again in 2021. Data on school workforce absence during the pandemic has been collected via the Department's education settings survey.

Specific guidance can be found within affected sections of this statistic.


Headline facts and figures - 2020

  • The FTE of teachers has increased by 7,000 since last year.
  • Retirements from teaching continue to decline, likely due to increases in state pension age.
  • Retention of teachers one year after they qualify continues to decrease, however retention of teachers who qualified two or more years ago has increased; a change to previously seen trends.
  • Pupil to teacher ratios in nursery and primary schools has decreased due to more teachers and stabilising pupil numbers.
  • 2 in 5 teaching hours were spent teaching English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects of mathematics, English, sciences (including computer science), history, geography and modern languages.
  • The number of temporarily filled teacher posts has decreased to levels comparable to 2012.

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List of all supporting files

The size of the school workforce

In 2020/21, the full-time equivalent (FTE) of 963,000 people were working in state-funded schools in England. Of these, nearly half were teachers, most of which (97%) held qualified teacher status.

FTE teachers in England have increased by 7,000 since last year, and by 20,000 since 2010. 

The type of school in which teachers worked was split evenly between nurseries/primary and secondary schools; 48% of teachers worked in nurseries and primary schools, 46% in secondary schools and the remaining 5% in special or PRU schools.

Entrants, leavers and changes in working pattern

A revision has been made to entrants and leavers figures for the 2020/21 year (November 2020 census). Figures had previously shown that the retention rate for teachers who had been in the workforce for 1 year or less had decreased between 2018 and 2019 entrants. The correct figures show that this was actually an increase in line with the other length of service groups. This was as a result of a data processing error. For the corrected and most up to date figures, please see the latest publication. For further details, please see the methodology section.

In 2020/21, the rates of qualified teachers entering and leaving state-funded schools both fell from 2019.

Entrants

43,500 teachers were new entrants, representing 1 in 10 (9.7%) of all qualified teachers. Almost half were newly qualified teachers and a third had returned to teaching after a period away. The rate of entrants decreased from 10.3% in the previous year.

Leavers 

34,100 teachers left the profession, representing under 1 in 10 (7.8%) of all qualified teachers. The majority (87%) left service due to leaving the teaching profession, for example due to a  change of career or joining other UK education sectors. The rate of teachers who left the profession decreased from 9.4% in the previous year. 

Changes to working pattern

The number of teachers who enter and leave the profession are not the only factors that impact FTE qualified teacher numbers over time; changes in the numbers of hours worked (working pattern) also has an impact.

In 2020, 5% of qualified teachers increased their working hours and 6% decreased their working hours. Such changes in working pattern produced a decrease equivalent to approximately 2,300 FTE qualified teachers between 2019 and 2020. 

Teacher retirements

Retirements from teaching have declined each year since 2012/13.

The type of retirement is changing; in 2011/12, age retirements accounted for 57% of retirements, whereas in 2020/21, they accounted for 49%. This is likely to be due to the gradual increase in state pension age, and changing age demographics of the teaching population.

Teacher retention

A revision has been made to entrants and leavers figures for the 2020/21 year (November 2020 census). Figures had previously shown that the retention rate for teachers who had been in the workforce for 1 year or less had decreased between 2018 and 2019 entrants. The correct figures show that this was actually an increase in line with the other length of service groups. This was as a result of a data processing error. For the corrected and most up to date figures, please see the latest publication. For further details, please see the methodology section.

85% of teachers who qualified in 2019 were still teaching one year after qualification. This retention rate has gradually declined since 2011. In contrast, retention of teachers who qualified two or more years ago has increased this year, a change to gradual declines seen in recent years.

Three in five teachers who qualified ten years ago are still teaching.

Pupil to teacher ratios (PTR)

Pupil to teacher ratios (PTRs) are based on all teachers (both qualified and qualified) identified in the November School Workforce Census and FTE pupil numbers from the following January School Census. A decrease in PTR means that there are fewer pupils per teacher. 

The PTR within nursery and primary schools has fallen. This was driven by an increase in teacher numbers and changes in the pupil population; the number of pupils has plateaued following rises between 2009 and 2018. The primary school pupil population is projected to decrease until 2030 (pupil projections). 

The PTR within secondary schools remained stable. The secondary school pupil population began rising in 2016 and is projected to continue increasing until 2024. The stable PTR indicates that the increase in pupils has been offset by an increase in teachers.

PTR data for  2010 to 2017 can be found in our previous statistical release on gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/school-workforce-in-england-november-2018

Teacher pay

Teacher pay in 2020/21

In 2020/21, the average FTE salary for teachers was £41,800 per annum – an increase of £1,300 since last year. 

  • Classroom teacher average salary was £38,400.
  • Leadership teacher (excluding headteachers) average salary was £56,400.
  • Headteacher average salary was £73,500.

Average salaries vary by type of school: 

  • The average salary of a nursery and primary classroom teacher was £36,900
  • The average salary of a secondary classroom teacher was £39,900
  • The average salary of a special school classroom teacher was £38,700.
  • Salaries were higher on average in LA maintained schools than academies. The exception was headteachers in academy primary schools. In previous years, headteacher salaries were also higher in academy secondary schools.

London and surrounding areas have higher average teacher salary than the rest of the country.

For further information on school and LA expenditure, please see the latest expenditure publication.

Teacher pay over time

Average salaries at all teacher grades increased since last year. The overall average FTE salary increased by over £1,000 (3.1%) to £41,800. 

The average headteacher salary increased by 2.6%, whilst the average classroom teacher salary increased by 3.4%.

The difference in headteacher salaries between academy and LA-maintained schools has decreased in recent years and this year, the salaries are comparable. The difference in classroom teacher salaries has remained constant over time, however were always similar between the management types.

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

Teacher pay by gender

There are gender differences in the grades held by teachers, therefore this analysis focuses on classroom and leadership (excluding headteacher) teachers to compare the gender differences in average (mean) salary. For information regarding gender of teachers, please see the Teacher Characteristics section of this publication.

In nursery and primary schools, female classroom and leadership teacher salaries have consistently been higher than male classroom teacher salaries, whilst the reverse is true at secondary school level. The difference in pay has been getting gradually smaller over time.

In 2020/21, in nursery and primary schools, female teachers were paid, on average, £800 (2.4%) more than male teachers. In secondary schools, male teachers were paid, on average, £700 (1.7%) more than female teachers.

 

Teachers' qualifications

To reduce burden during the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and LAs were not required to provide information on teacher qualifications in the November 2020 School Workforce Census. This information will be collected again in the November 2021 census.

In 2019, the majority (99%) of teachers held 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.

Less than 1% of teachers held a non-UK qualification.

Subjects taught

Data is collected on the curriculum taught in secondary schools.

2 in 5 teaching hours were spent teaching English Baccalaureate (EBacc) subjects of mathematics, English, sciences (including computer science), history, geography and modern languages.

Over two thirds of secondary school teachers taught at least one EBacc subject.

To reduce burden during the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and LAs were not required to provide information on teacher qualifications in the November 2020 School Workforce Census. Therefore information on teachers with a post A Level qualification has not been updated. This information will be collected again in the November 2021 census.

In 2019/20, 9 in 10 EBacc hours were taught by a teacher with a relevant post A level qualification. However in computer science specifically, this was lower, at 5 in 10 hours.

Teacher characteristics

Age

3 in 5 teachers were aged between 30 and 49. The proportion of teachers aged 30 to 49 has increased gradually over the past 10 years, whereas teachers aged 50+ has decreased.

Gender

The gender of teachers varies by grade; 75% of classroom teachers and 67% of headteachers were female. This has been consistent over time.

Ethnicity

15% of teachers described themselves as being in a minority ethnic group* (where ethnicity information had been provided). This is an increase from 11% in 2010.

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

Teacher vacancies

To reduce burden during the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and LAs were not required to provide the tenure (full/part time working pattern) of teachers in the November 2020 School Workforce Census. Therefore, this information includes both full and part time staff vacancies whereas previous publications have focused only on full time vacancies.

Since 2016 the number of full-time and part-time teacher vacancies remained stable. The number of temporarily filled teacher posts declined since 2016 to levels seen in 2012.

Teacher absences

To reduce burden during the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and LAs were not required to provide information on teacher absences in the November 2020 School Workforce Census. There is therefore no new data for this year. This information will be collected again in the November 2021 census.

Data on school workforce absence during the pandemic has been collected via the Department's education settings survey.

The percentage of teachers taking sickness absence decreased since 2014/15. 

The teacher sickness absence rate in 2018/19 was 4.1 days per teacher, comparable to 4.0 in 2017/18.

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

Help and support

Methodology

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

National statistics

The United Kingdom Statistics Authority designated these statistics as National Statistics in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

Designation signifying their compliance with the authority's Code of Practice for Statistics which broadly means these statistics are:

  • managed impartially and objectively in the public interest
  • meet identified user needs
  • produced according to sound methods
  • well explained and readily accessible

Once designated as National Statistics it's a statutory requirement for statistics to follow and comply with the Code of Practice for Statistics to be observed.

Find out more about the standards we follow to produce these statistics through our Standards for official statistics published by DfE guidance.

Contact us

Ask questions and provide feedback

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

Teachers and teaching statistics team

Email
schoolworkforce.statistics@education.gov.uk

Telephone: Tony Clarke
0774 7767329

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