Methodology

School workforce in England

Published

Summary

The School Workforce in England publication provides information at national and local level on the number and characteristics of teachers and other school staff working in state funded schools in England, since 2010.

Data sources

The School Workforce Census

The School Workforce in England publication is predominantly based on information provided by schools and local authorities as part of the annual School Workforce Census, introduced in 2010. Users requiring pre-2010 figures should refer to previously published series that can be found on gov.uk archives.

The School Workforce Census replaced existing data collections and was designed to ensure data was collected consistently and comprehensively in one single, harmonised exercise. This improved the quality and consistency of key school workforce statistics vital for monitoring and evaluating the school workforce. In addition, it reduced the data collection burden on schools.

The census collects a broad range of characteristics data, such as gender, age, ethnicity and disability. It also collects contract information such as grade, post or role, qualifications data, pay data and hours worked of those whose individual level data is collected. For full information on the census content, please see the census guidance.

The census collects information on school staff from all state funded schools in England. This includes staff working in:

  • Local Authority (LA) maintained nursery, primary, secondary and special schools.
  • Academy schools: free schools, University Technical Colleges, Studio Schools, City Technology Colleges, and Pupil Referral Units. 
  • LA centrally employed teachers and support staff who spend more than half their working time in schools. Please note that it is not possible to identify which type of institution these individuals work in.

The census does not collect information from:

  • Independent schools
  • Non-maintained special schools 
  • Other further education colleges (FE). 
  • Some former FE funded sixth form colleges which are now classed as academy schools are excluded.

Information on teacher retention, retirements and out of service teachers does include data pre-dating the School Workforce Census (2010) due to inclusion of additional data sources which allow comparable statistics over time.

Database of Teacher Records, Database of Qualified Teachers and Pensioner Statistics

Data collected as part of the administration of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme is retained in the Database of Teacher Records (DTR) and pensioner statistics (Penstats). The Database of Qualified Teachers (DQT) holds information on the teachers that have obtained their Qualified Teacher Status.

These sources are linked to the School Workforce Census using unique Teacher Reference Number (TRN) supplemented by NI number, names and date of birth.

These data sources are used to identify:

  • Newly Qualified Entrants to the teaching profession.
  • Retention of qualified teachers.
  • Qualified teachers currently out of service.
  • Qualified teachers with no service history. 
  • Qualified teacher retirements. 

Data collection, processing and cleaning

The school workforce data required from both schools and LAs is determined in advance of the census so that the suppliers of school and LA management information systems (MIS) can incorporate any changes into their local systems. For a full list of the technical specification, the data items collected from schools, and automated data validation steps, see the published guidance and specifications.

Stage 1

By census day, schools and LAs should ensure their MIS hold accurate details for all staff in scope of the census. They then extract and upload the information required by the Department to the Collections Online for Learning, Education, Children and Teachers (COLLECT) portal.

Stage 2

Once schools and local authorities have successfully uploaded their data to COLLECT they can review and inspect their data. The COLLECT system has a range of automated data validation checks which flag where the data provided has either failed to meet the standards required (an error) or does not conform to what was expected (a warning). Schools and LAs are encouraged to utilise additional credibility checks to ensure that the data being submitted is a true reflection of staffing levels and characteristics. 

Once schools and local authorities have resolved errors and warnings they approve their data.

Stage 3

The Department runs a further set of checks on the data. These checks look within the data to spot any problem areas, for example, substantial numbers of records missing particular data items, or staff whose pay rate is not credible. The results of these checks are fed back to data providers to amend and improve data quality.

Throughout the first three stages of the collection, the Department operates a helpdesk to advise staff at schools and LA. When this process is completed and both data supplier and the Department are content, the Department authorises data for use.

Stage 4

Once all data has been authorised, a final database of all staff contracts at point of census years is created, which allows the Department’s statisticians to prepare for publication. At this stage data provided and deemed to be out of scope or not required is removed from the dataset. For example teaching staff on zero-hour contracts. 

The census data on staff contracts is joined across multiple years and to other datasets (Database of Teacher Records, Database of Qualified Teachers and Penstats). This process uses Teacher Reference Number (TRN) supplemented by NI number, names and date of birth. The purpose is to improve data quality through overcoming occasional gaps in the data, removing duplicate teacher contracts, and to add required information for the final statistical publication.

A small percentage of teachers have more than one open contract on census day, for example where they have two distinct roles within a school or work in more than one school. In such cases, the main contract (highest grade)  is selected for statistics on teacher numbers, teacher characteristics, entrants to teaching, teachers leaving state funded schools and teacher retention.

In addition, databases covering the full time period for other modules of the census, such as absences, curriculum taught, qualifications and vacancies are produced. 

Stage 5

Following data checks and quality assurance, the publication can be released. This signals the availability of the data for use by the department (for example Teacher Supply Modelling), schools and local authorities, the general public (including in reply to Freedom of Information requests) and to independent analysts and researchers. 

Production of the statistical publication

The data collected in the latest census is used to update the time series data in the publication and to create the latest snapshot of data. 

Each year there are a small number of schools who did not provide a school workforce return or where the return was incomplete and could not be used. In 2021, 53 schools, 0.2 percent of the total, did not provide a return. Further schools have sections of their return such as curriculum and sickness absence missing. These missing schools are treated differently as appropriate in the various topics in the publication. Please consult the sections below for a description of the methodology employed in such cases.

Updates to previous years data

Previously published information is revised each year. While the School Workforce Census data does not get updated, other data sources do (for example the Database of Qualified Teachers). Updates allow for better identification of teachers between years, retention in service figures, exit from service figures, deduplication of teacher data and reduction of missing information.

In addition to expected updates, for the 2021 publication a revision was made to entrants, leavers and retention figures first published in 2020:

  • Entrants in the 2020/21 year had been overreported by 1,800 FTE.
  • Leavers in the 2019/20 year had been overreported by 1,900 FTE.
  • The one-year retention rate of teachers who were new to state-funded schools in England in 2019 was incorrectly reported as 84.5%, instead of 88.3%. Prior to the revision, figures had shown that the retention rate for teachers in the workforce for one year or less had decreased between 2018 and 2019 cohorts. The revised figures show that this was actually an increase in line with other length of service groups.

The need for this revision arose due to a data processing error which incorrectly identified some teachers as being new to service or having left service. The figures shown in the 2021 publication are the most accurate and up to date figures available.

Symbols used in the data files

x = Not available

This information has not been collected or there are no estimates available at this level of aggregation.

N/A =  Not available

This is normally where a statistic cannot be produced. For example where a denominator is not available to produce a percentage. 

c = confidential

Where presentation of data would disclose confidential information, for example being able to identify details about a single respondent, this data must be suppressed and given this marker to maintain confidentiality clauses. In the previous standard there was a separate category for suppression. Discussion with ONS Statistical Disclosure Control Unit confirmed that reasons for suppression would either be for confidentiality purposes or low reliability, and these are now separately identified in this list of symbols.

u = low reliability 

This indicates observations/values for which the user should be aware of the low quality, for example where values of statistical significance have been calculated.

Size of the schools’ workforce

The School Workforce Census collects individual level data for all types of staff in schools with a contract of 28 days or longer. This includes contracts that were open on the census date and those that were open but ended during the previous academic year. 

To account for schools that did not supply usable data, a scaling factor is derived based on the total number of schools per phase, the average number of staff (by type) per phase and the number of missing schools by school phase in each local authority area. The scaling factor is then used to gross up the totals based on received data to produce national estimates. 

The size of the school’s workforce figures include only those staff with a contract open on census day.

Teachers in schools on census day with a contract lasting less than 28 days are recorded as ‘occasional’ teachers. Support staff who have a contract of less than 28 days are not counted unless they are employed by a third-party provider. For these a count of staff in each role is provided. Occasional teacher and agency support staff counts are included in tables separately and no details of their characteristics, such as age and gender, are available.

Teachers with more than one open contract on census day (for example working part-time in two schools) have their information combined into one record with their main contract taking precedence. Combining teacher data in this way simplifies the linking of data across years, which helps identify whether teachers are still in service. 

Data of teaching workforce is available by teacher grade:

  • Classroom teacher: teachers on the unqualified, main and upper teacher pay ranges and the leading practitioner pay range. 
  • Leadership teacher: head, deputy and assistant head teacher pay ranges. Also included are advisory teachers. 
  • Head teacher: Head teachers and executive head teachers who are responsible for more than one school.

Support staff may have more than one role within each contract (around 2 per cent of cases). In these cases, the first role is that used to categorise the staff member. Support staff may also have more than one contract, however these are not aggregated to a single record, therefore individuals may be counted more than once.

Data of support staff workforce is available by post :

  • Teaching assistants: teaching assistant, higher level teaching assistant, special needs assistants, minority ethnic support staff and any other staff with support roles in the classroom. 
  • Other support staff: support staff that are not classroom based, for example matrons/nurses/medical staff, librarians, technicians, bursars and other administration/clerical staff, premises and catering staff. The category may include staff who are not teachers but are part of the school leadership team. 
  • Technicians: those employed to support science, design and technology, craft and IT technicians.
  • Auxiliary staff: other staff essential to the running of the school such as catering, midday supervisors, cleaning and maintenance staff. 

Staff who work outside of the school are excluded from the school workforce census. These might include school crossing patrol and pupil transport staff.

Staff numbers at school level may differ from the figures presented in the national summaries because they have not been adjusted to account for schools that return data, to account for multiple contracts found for the same post, or where teachers are in service with more than one employer.

Characteristics of the school workforce

Teacher data is derived from the linked aggregated teacher dataset and the support staff data from the multi-year all-contract dataset. 

These statistics are based on the headcount of staff, rather than the FTE. Therefore these figures should not be used as a measure of the overall size of the school workforce.

For the ethnicity breakdown teachers have more than one post in a school, they are counted once under their highest graded post. The post of head teacher is ranked highest and classroom teacher lowest. If the teacher has more than one post at the same grade then only one is counted. There is no natural hierarchy of posts for school support staff and therefore where staff have more than one post they are counted once under each post. Around 10 per cent of support staff have more than one contract. 

Staff characteristics are not provided for occasional teachers and support staff employed through a third party, therefore tables on characteristics exclude these staff.

Gender

In the 2021 census there is a higher than average number of “gender unclassified” staff (with regards to teachers: 1,272 compared to between 540 and 70 in previous years). This was investigated and found to be due to one payroll provider using an incorrect codeset for gender data. Using an incorrect codeset means that the data cannot be included in analysis.

Teacher disability

Schools are asked to provide information on the number of teachers that record themselves as disabled. However, information on disability was not obtained by schools for 52 per cent of teachers in the November 2020 census. The information provided suggests 2 per cent of teachers are disabled, however, this may not truly reflect the real position given the large amount of missing data and therefore a breakdown is not provided in this publication.

Teacher entrants and leavers

For the 2021 publication a revision was made to entrants, leavers and retention figures first published in 2020:

  • Entrants in the 2020/21 year had been overreported by 1,800 FTE.
  • Leavers in the 2019/20 year had been overreported by 1,900 FTE.
  • The one-year retention rate of teachers who were new to state-funded schools in England in 2019 was incorrectly reported as 84.5%, instead of 88.3%. Prior to the revision, figures had shown that the retention rate for teachers in the workforce for one year or less had decreased between 2018 and 2019 cohorts. The revised figures show that this was actually an increase in line with other length of service groups.

The need for this revision arose due to a data processing error which incorrectly identified some teachers as being new to service or having left service. The figures shown in the 2021 publication are the most accurate and up to date figures available.

Teacher entrants, retention, and leavers data uses all census data over time to produce a longitudinal teacher dataset. Revision to earlier years figures will arise from improvements in the identification of teachers. 

Entrants and leavers figures are shown as FTE. Figures do not include changes to working pattern such as an increase in hours worked. Where percentages are provided, they are of the total entrants or leavers in the year.

Characteristic information on entrants is provided by the school that the teacher joins and that of leavers is provided by the school that the teacher leaves.

Teachers previously working as unqualified teachers in the state funded sector in England that attained qualified teacher status during the present census year are classed as entrants.

Qualified teacher entrants includes the following groups: 

  • Newly qualified teachers (NQTs) in their first post: teachers who enter state funded schools straight after successfully completing initial teacher training in England. That is they did not have qualified teacher status, (QTS), at the beginning of the year of the census but did have QTS at the date of the census.
  • Deferred newly qualified entrants: similar to NQTs but they started teaching in state funded schools within two years of gaining QTS.
  • New to the state funded sector: those who qualified more than 2 years before taking up their first post in a state funded school in England.  These teachers may have previously worked in the independent or further education sector, or outside of England.
  • Returners to the state funded sector: those who were not in service in the previous census year but had taken up a post in a state funded school at some point between then and the current year’s census.

Qualified teachers leaving the profession includes the following groups: 

  • Qualified teachers retiring: includes teachers taking early retirement or who are retiring through ill-health. The figures may include some teachers who have previously retired and have subsequently decided to return to teaching.
  • Out of service teachers: teachers leaving the profession, including those leaving the profession entirely, moving to other UK education sectors and those leaving on career breaks such as maternity leave or secondments outside of the school sector. Some of these teachers may re-join a state funded school in England at a later date.
  • Teachers who die whilst in service.

Teacher entrant/leaver rate is calculated by dividing the number of entrants/leavers by the number of teachers in the year they joined/left service. 

When looking at time series data for special schools please note that the census started recording PRU data separately from 2013 rather than as part of the centrally employed returns. Figures for 2013 onwards are included with special schools and figures for entrants in 2013 are higher as a result.

Teacher retention data

For the 2021 publication a revision was made to entrants, leavers and retention figures first published in 2020:

  • Entrants in the 2020/21 year had been overreported by 1,800 FTE.
  • Leavers in the 2019/20 year had been overreported by 1,900 FTE.
  • The one-year retention rate of teachers who were new to state-funded schools in England in 2019 was incorrectly reported as 84.5%, instead of 88.3%. Prior to the revision, figures had shown that the retention rate for teachers in the workforce for one year or less had decreased between 2018 and 2019 cohorts. The revised figures show that this was actually an increase in line with other length of service groups.

The need for this revision arose due to a data processing error which incorrectly identified some teachers as being new to service or having left service. The figures shown in the 2021 publication are the most accurate and up to date figures available.

The teacher retention file shows the percentage of qualified teachers that enter service in the academic year after the year of qualifying, and the proportion of these that remain in service in each year afterwards. This information is compiled from the School Workforce Census and the Database of Teacher Records (DTR).

The retention matrix uses new methodology detailed in the 2018 methodology document.

Teachers' pay

Teachers’ pay data is derived from contract-level information as opposed to aggregated teacher data to obtain the most accurate pay. 

These statistics are based on the headcount of staff, rather than the FTE. Therefore these figures should not be used as a measure of the overall size of the school workforce.

Estimates on pay have not been provided for schools who did not submit a school workforce information. 

For information on school teachers’ pay and conditions (STPCD) please refer to the statutory guidance available at gov.uk.

Some teachers pay details are shown as unknown (approx 3-4%). This can be due to a number of reasons:

  • The salary of teachers employed through a third party on a service level agreement is usually unknown to LAs and schools .
  • Where the salary is below the base salary for the grade shown in the STPCD.
  • Part-time teachers with FTE salaries reported rather than the required actual salaries. These cases are treated as unknown.


Additional allowances have been included in the gross salary used in the creation of the file. Each allowance is recorded separately in the census. Where two or more allowances of the same type are noted for a single contract record then the higher amount is taken as the allowance in payment on the census date and included in the gross salary. The only exception is unspecified allowances where the sum of all these is included as representing the amount included in the salary over the course of a year as these are likely to be one-off rather than continuous monthly payments.

Where mean and median salaries have been provided this is based on the gross salaries for the cohort identified for example in that particular phase of education, grade, gender and age group and excluding those teachers where the salary was not recorded or is not credible. They exclude figures based on less than 3 identified salaries for the mean or 25 in the case of medians as recommended in Office for National Statistics, (ONS) guidelines. The mean salary is the sum total of all salaries in the cohort divided by the number of teachers. The median is the mid-point salary in the cohort when the salaries arranged in order from smallest to largest.

When making comparisons of teacher salaries by school phase or type there will be several factors that affect pay to consider. For example, the published data do not take into account factors such as: size of school, location of the school (London has higher pay scales) and the teachers’ experience and the size of school. In addition, in previous years the location of the growing number of academy schools affected the distribution of average pay statistics. Many of the first group of academy schools were in London and the south east where the pay bands are higher and this was inflating the average pay statistics - making comparisons difficult. A change to a larger more geographically spread group of academies and lower numbers of local authority schools will continue to affect this comparison.

Teachers' qualifications

New data on teachers’ qualifications was not collected in 2020 to reduce burden for school and local authorities during the pandemic. It was collected again in 2021. 

The publication provides information on teachers’ highest level of post A level qualification. Qualifications information is received for almost all teachers (97 per cent in 2019) and includes teachers of all grades including advisory teachers. 

The subject of a qualification was not received for all the qualifications data submitted and in a small number of other cases the information was incomplete or incorrect. From 2016, all qualifications obtained by teachers have been used, with data collected in previous years and the Database of Qualified Teachers being used to fill in any gaps in the current year’s collection. 

The percentage of teachers holding a particular level of qualification was derived using a baseline of the total teachers for whom qualifications information was provided. Where a teacher was reported as holding more than one post A level qualification for a given subject, the qualification level was determined by the highest level, from degree or higher, Bachelor of Education, Postgraduate Certificate in Education, Certificate in Education  to other qualification at National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 4. The published figures do not include qualifications in special education needs provision. Where the qualification was gained outside of the UK the level of qualification is not provided.

The overall number and percentage of teachers who hold a degree or higher qualification also includes any national qualifications framework degree at level 4 or 5 as well as those recorded at first degree level or higher. These are diplomas of higher and further education, foundation degrees, higher national diplomas, and certificates of higher education. It also includes qualifications where the level is unknown.

Subjects taught and specialist teaching in secondary schools

For a sample of secondary schools, the School Workforce Census collects information on the curriculum taught by teachers to pupils in years 7-13. The curriculum data is only collected from secondary schools that use electronic timetabling software that can produce data in the format required. This means that the sample size can change each year, Consequently, the number of schools that provide data can change from year to year. 

Curriculum information is based on the sample of teachers in secondary schools where curriculum data was provided. The data have been weighted and grossed so that all totals presented in the table provide a representative, national picture.

Teachers are counted once against each subject and key stage that they were teaching irrespective of the amount of time spent teaching that subject or key stage. A teacher may therefore be counted against multiple subjects and/or key stages and the sum of subjects or key stage teachers will not sum to the total number of secondary teachers elsewhere in the publication. For sciences, modern foreign languages, design and technology and EBacc, teachers of multiple subjects are counted once under each individual subject within the group but only appear once in the overall, and subject group, totals. For example, a teacher who teaches biology, general science and other science will appear against each of those science subjects but will only appear once in the all sciences total. From 2017, sciences and EBacc figures also include computer science.

Other/Combined technology includes construction and built environment. Religious Education includes philosophy. Other social studies includes law, politics, sociology and psychology. Information and communication technology is abbreviated to ICT and Personal, Social and Health Education and other associated subjects is abbreviated as PSHE.

EBacc subjects are mathematics, English, all sciences, (including computer science), history, geography and all modern languages.

The publication provides information on the proportion of teachers, and of hours taught by teachers, who hold relevant post A level qualifications by the subject taught. This is for teachers with qualified teacher status only. 

Each qualification of a teacher was deemed as ‘relevant’ to the subject taught if the subject of their qualification (reported using both the Joint Academic Coding System (JACS) and newer Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) codes) appeared in the Department’s subject mapping. The full mapping used is available on the same web page as this statistical publication. Teachers teaching an EBacc subject are included where they have a relevant post A level qualification in the subject they are teaching, however, they may also teach other subjects within EBacc for which they have no relevant post A level qualification.

Where a teacher is recorded as having a PGCE they must also have a first degree recorded as well to be included, as their record of qualifications is not complete without both records. The degree held by a teacher may be in a different, but related subject, to their PGCE. 

The overall sample size for analysis of the combined qualifications and curriculum data for teachers is lower than for curriculum information alone as we need to have both qualifications and curriculum information. The data are weighted and grossed so that all totals presented in the files provide a representative, national picture.

For qualifications and curriculum information confidence intervals have been calculated around the percentages to show the statistical accuracy of the data and give a range within which we can be reasonably sure (95 per cent certain) that the true value actually lies.

Investigations have revealed that there is some bias in the sample of the schools providing data with some regions providing a higher percentage of their schools to the sample than others. These differences may be caused by the Management Information System in use in that area.

The percentages published for qualifications and curriculum combined are the percentages estimated to have the particular qualification as their highest qualification in the subject out of the total number of teachers who teach the subject. This is irrespective of the number of hours the teacher teaches the subject or the level of teaching.  The percentages for the number of hours taught is the percentage of teaching in the subject by teachers with the specified level of qualification in the subject. 

Teacher vacancies and temporarily filled posts

The School Workforce Census collects counts of teacher vacancies and temporarily filled posts reported by schools. Schools that did not provide a data return on this topic are judged to have no vacancies.

A teacher vacancy refers to a full-time appointment of at least one term's duration that, on the census date, had been advertised but not filled. Vacancies exclude those filled on a temporary basis unless it is by someone on a contract of less than a term.

A temporarily filled post is one where a permanent vacancy is available but it is being filled by a teacher with a contract of at least a term but less than one year’s duration. This is irrespective of whether the post has been advertised.

The teacher vacancy rate is the number of vacancies expressed as a percentage of full-time qualified teachers in post plus the number of permanent vacancies. Teachers in post include teachers on leave of absence or secondment.

To calculate the secondary school vacancy rates by subject, the percentage of the secondary school curriculum hours that each subject taught contributes is calculated from the information provided in the curriculum file. The total number of full-time qualified classroom teachers in service plus number of vacant posts is multiplied by this percentage to find the total number of teachers in post teaching each subject.

The subject vacancy file includes the following subject combinations:

  • Science includes physics, chemistry, and biology plus other sciences and general/combined science.
  • Design and technology includes all design and technology subjects plus construction and the built environment and other technology and crafts.
  • Commercial/business studies also includes economics and applied business studies.
  • Other main and combined subjects includes citizenship, child development, general studies, health and social care, media studies and other vocational subjects. It also includes specialist teachers for special educational needs, (SEN).

No denominator is available where the subject is unknown, therefore no rates are available.

Teacher sickness absence

New data on teachers’ sickness absence was not collected in 2020 to reduce burden for school and local authorities during the pandemic. It was collected again in 2021. 

In 2019, teacher sickness absence information was received for around 98 per cent of local authority-maintained schools. A local authority was deemed to have made a full return where 90 per cent of schools or more had supplied sickness absence information because small schools may not have had any sickness absence to report. 11 local authorities had less than the required 90 per cent return rate and in these cases estimates based on the national rate were added to account for the schools with missing information. Missing sickness absence data for teachers in schools that did not have a usable return was estimated as the average sickness absence days lost per teacher for schools that made a return.

8 per cent of academy schools did not have a complete teacher sickness absence return because they were not open as an academy school for the full academic year. Teacher sickness absence statistics are based on the absences taken by teachers in the 12 months up to the census date. It did not prove possible to accurately estimate the teacher sickness absences missing for these schools. An estimate based on the average sickness days taken for all schools where an absence return was made including local authority schools where information for an academy school was not available. 

Sickness absence is produced from the total days absent, including half days, for each teacher during the academic year previous to the School Workforce Census collection date. All teachers who are in regular service at any time during the year are included in the calculations. Only those absence periods that ended during the academic year are counted so the total may include absence days from the previous academic year but will not include those at the end of the year if the period of absence is ongoing. Absence days are limited to 195 days for each teacher as this is the maximum number of working days in a single academic year. Non-working days are not included in the figures. Days absence that can be recorded for a part-time teacher are limited to those that they are contracted to teach.

Pupil teacher and pupil adult ratios

The pupil teacher ratio (PTR) and the pupil adult ratio (PAR) are calculated by dividing the total FTE number of pupils on roll in schools by the FTE numbers of teachers, (those with QTS for the qualified only PTR) using the November teacher and staffing data from the School Workforce Census and the pupil data collected in the following January School Census. The PAR also includes all support staff excluding administrative, clerical and auxiliary staff. Only those schools that provided both pupil and workforce information are included in the figures. The pupil numbers used in the calculation of the PTR statistics include dual registered pupils. For statistical purpose only pupils who did not attend both morning and afternoon sessions are regarded as part-time (part-time are always 0.5 FTE).

Teacher retirements

Teacher retirements are based on the administrative data for retirements that are maintained by the administrators of the Teachers’ Pensions Scheme, (TPS) on behalf of the Department for Education. The figures published are the number of first awards of pension benefits from the TPS. These benefits may be awarded some time after the teacher has left service and therefore differ from those provided in the wastage figures which only include those teachers who have received a pension award at or before the date they leave service. The number of awards may be revised for each past year as late applications for pension benefits are processed. Some retirements are recorded for England from outside of the state funded sector from Further and Higher education establishments and independent schools who are members of the TPS.

Retirement numbers are broken down by type of retirement. Phased retirements are included in those cases the teacher will have remained in service. Retirements are also broken down by the following:

  • Year of retirement is the financial year in which the award was made.
  • Age, the age of the teacher at the date of retirement.
  • Gender
  • Grade, of the last post recorded for the teacher and is obtained by linking to the school workforce census. When the last post was before 2010 the grade will be unknown.

Teachers out of service/Never in service

Information from the Database of Qualified Teachers of those with qualified teacher status QTS has been linked to teacher service records from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme, (TPS), to obtain an estimate of the number of qualified teachers aged below the former normal retirement age of 60 who are no longer in service or have never been in service. These figures also exclude those who have taken pension benefits before the age of 60. The following applies to these figures:

  • They are provisional and may be updated once further records are obtained.
  • ‘Last service recorded’ means they were in service anywhere in the English state funded service or in ‘other’ service which is any service in any other institution in England or Wales which was part of the TPS. These teachers may be in service elsewhere.
  • ‘Never in service’ means they have no service recorded in England and Wales in any institution which is a member of the TPS. These teachers may have service outside of England and Wales or in an institution which is not part of the TPS.
  • Age is the teachers current age at the date of the reports, March 2018.
  • Numbers for the same year will go down in subsequent reports as either the teachers reach the age of 60 or enter service.
  • Number not in service may be overestimated due to the underreporting of part-time teachers in the source data.

Definitions and general notes

The files in this publication generally show school staff in five groups, teachers, teaching assistants, school support staff, school auxiliary staff and local authority centrally employed staff. Where gender and age is unknown, figures by these factors do not add to totals provided. Where ethnicity is unknown, this is shown as its own category in breakdowns provided. The definitions used with the data published in this publication are described here:

Notes for teachers and teaching statistics
  • Statistics for teachers include all full and part-time, qualified and unqualified, classroom teachers and school leadership group teachers (Head teachers, Deputy and Assistant Head teachers) unless specified within the files.
  • The number and characteristics of Leading Practitioners have been incorporated into the statistics on classroom teachers.
  • Advisory Teachers have been included in teacher totals for 2010 to 2012 to be consistent with 2013 onwards and are included with assistant heads in any categorisation by grade.
  • Teachers in occasional service are those with a contract of fewer than 28 days and are employed on census day.
  • Teachers provided by teacher employment agencies are included in the main count or as in occasional service depending on the length of their contract.
Notes on school support staff
  • Statistics for teaching assistants include higher level teaching assistants (HLTA), special needs and minority ethnic pupils support staff and other staff with pupil support roles.
  • Statistics for school support staff refer to non-classroom based school staff such as school secretaries and other clerical staff, bursars, technicians and childcare staff (e.g. a school nurse).
  • Statistics for auxiliary staff (roles which were not collected by the Department prior to November 2010) include catering and school maintenance staff.
  • Third party support staff are not directly employed by the school and are in service on the census date.
  • Centrally employed staff are those employed by the local authority and include the following types of employee: peripatetic teachers; home tutors; and teachers who are employed by education authorities to provide education in institutions other than schools (e.g. hospitals, home tuition, assessment centres and pupil referral units).
Notes for teacher sickness absence data
  • Sickness absence periods, and days taken, include all periods of sickness absence leave taken in the academic year (for example 1 September to 31 August). They include any that were ongoing on the 1 September and exclude any that were ongoing after the 31 August.
Notes on schools
  • Middle schools are classed as deemed, for example. as either primary or secondary and City Technology Colleges and free schools are included with academy schools except where separately identified. All through schools are deemed secondary.

In addition, when reviewing the files, please note the following:

We preserve confidentiality. The Code of Practice for Official Statistics requires we take reasonable steps to ensure that our published or disseminated statistics protect confidentiality.
Numbers are not roundedSome figures such as pay or sickness absence may be suppressed at school level or higher levels of aggregation to prevent disclosure of sensitive information about individuals. 
We have adopted symbols to help with identification.

Symbols are used in the files are based upon general Office of National Statistics guidance

 

How the department uses the information

The school workforce census data are used in many ways within the Department for Education and its agencies. The main uses are as follows:

Production of statistical briefing and analysis on various topics such as…
  • The deployment and qualifications of teachers in schools.
  • Analysis of the percentages of lessons taught by teachers with relevant qualifications.
  • Analysis of teaching vacancies by subject and region.
  • Assessment of the number of teachers without qualified teacher status.
Teacher demand modelling to estimate changes due to various policies or demographic changes.
  • Demographic pressures and churn in the workforce.
  • Impact of policy development on the workforce e.g. curriculum, qualifications etc.
  • Informs the annual target setting for initial teacher training places via the Teacher Supply Model; helps to ensure a sufficient supply of teachers to schools.
  • Modelling the number of potential school leadership teachers; to help ensure there are enough school leaders in the system.
Analysis of Teacher
Pay Costs
  • Provides evidence to support the independent pay review body recommendations.
  • Assess impact of proposals for pay and estimate future costs.
Transparency through publication
  • Through the publication of the annual Statistical First Releases and school level data and through the Performance Tables.
  • The data is used to reply to a substantial volume of official correspondence, including Parliamentary Questions and Freedom of Information requests.

School Workforce Census data is sometimes shared with external researchers….

 

…under strict controls.

 

Some examples 
have been …

  • The costs and benefits of different teacher training routes in England.
  • Modelling teacher supply and retention over time.
  • Research into differentials in levels of appointment and salary level by demographic sub-groups of the teacher population.
  • Better understanding of the impact of specialist teachers on the uptake of subjects and achievement in subjects.

Further information

Further information on the school workforce census is made available via the publication and during year. The Department for Education is only responsible for schools in England. 

School, local 
authority and 
regional figures.

School level school workforce data is available within the additional tables published alongside this statistical release. The school data contains a range of information for each school following the same themes as set out in this document. It also includes both local authority and regional level summaries.

 

The total number of teachers in schools will not sum to the LA, region or national total. This is because the LA and region totals include those employed directly by LAs and the national totals include estimates for missing schools.

Want these figures, related to Performance Tables?8 school level school workforce indicators are included as part of each year’s School Performance Tables. The indicators include FTE and headcount statistics for the number of teachers, teaching assistants and school support staff, the average salary of teachers and the pupil teacher ratio.
Want previously 
published figures?
The publications relating to the years 2010 to 2018 collections can be found on gov.uk and information published prior to 2010 can be found in the National Archives
Want data for Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland?

The School Workforce Census only collects information from schools in England. Education in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is a devolved matter. For information for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, contact the departments below or access their statistics at the following links:

Wales: educationworkforcedata@gov.wales or

School Workforce Census results (gov.wales)

Scotland: school.stats@gov.scot or School education statistics (gov.scot)

Northern Ireland: statistics@education-ni.gov.uk or

Department of Education Teacher Workforce Statistics 202021 

 
For related publications see:

Statistics on teacher training and the annual survey of newly qualified teachers

Further analysis of previous School Workforce Census data