With both pupil numbers and demand for teachers set to rise in the near future, it will become increasingly important for school leaders not just to recruit, but to retain good staff. New models for better retention are required.

The number of teachers joining the profession has roughly counterbalanced the number leaving it in recent years. That’s something of a relief. But it’s no secret that the state sector will soon need many more teachers than it has both in training and in work today — the DfE’s own ITT targets have not been hit for 4 years in a row.

To balance the equation we need better retention strategies for staff who have left (or are considering leaving) alongside investment in teacher training. The good news is that there are plenty of excellent, trained teachers out there — who still love teaching. We just need to bring them back into the classroom.


‘Encouraging those qualified teachers that are out of service back into the classroom will be increasingly important at a time when the number of entrants to teacher training is low’ (NFER)


Why are the leavers going; are they returning (both to the profession and on the investment in their teacher training); and how can we retain them better so we’re prepared for the imminent rise in pupil numbers?

Why are the leavers going?

Working age teachers who consider leaving the profession aren’t necessarily looking to move out of the education sector or pursue higher paid careers. They’re asking for fairer pay and a more balanced, more flexible schedule. The worrying part is, new teachers (<3 years experience) are leaving full-time teaching faster than ever.

Are they returning?

Yes, the number of returners is slowly increasing, and there are a smattering of schemes to help returning teachers back into the workforce. However, at current rates, returners and trainees combined are unlikely to cover the expected shortfall. More can be done by schools to bring those trained, experienced teachers back into the classroom.

What do they want when they return?

Demand for part-time work is on the rise. From hundreds of interviews with teachers and support staff, we’ve heard that, above all else, returners and new teachers alike do indeed want 1) more flexibility and 2) fairer pay, so they can fit attractive classroom employment opportunities around a diverse range of other activities.


Measures should be taken for keeping track of former teachers, especially those still working in schools, in order to target opportunities to return to teaching… [Schools could make] greater use of non-teaching staff with a teaching background, for example by deploying such individuals flexibly in providing preparation, planning and assessment, or supply cover.’ (NFER)


Teacher Booker’s new service, Talent Pools, lets schools, alliances and MATs add teachers who have trained at or who are otherwise affiliated with a school to an app-based Talent Pool. Supply and long term roles can be posted to these teachers in a matter of seconds. A Talent Pool can be shared and contributed to by multiple cooperating schools.

This retains teachers who have a history with a school in that school’s workforce, flexibly, and provides a smooth route back to the classroom for returners.

There’s no agency middleman taking a cut of teachers’ pay for work they complete. The school experiences a vast reduction in admin by having a dynamic online Talent Pool, because our technology does all the heavy lifting of sourcing and matching candidates to roles. Think HR without the paperwork, emails or phone calls.

Teachers get the flexibility they want, with supply, PPA and mid-term cover roles at known schools posted direct to their phone. Schools get known, trusted teachers and save money by cutting out agencies, reducing admin and freeing up resources to pay teachers more fairly.


Teacher Booker already helps schools recruit supply, long term and permanent staff for vacancies they have today. By using Talent Pools by Teacher Booker, you’re setting up your school for success in an increasingly competitive resourcing environment.