Researchers say the number one reason for the rocketing numbers of teachers leaving the profession and switching jobs is down to poor job satisfaction.

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) says that the government needs to tackle the teacher retention crisis by improving job satisfaction and cutting workload.

The organisation’s chief executive, Carole Willis, said: “The recruitment and retention of teachers is an important policy facing England’s education system.”

She added that as pupil numbers rise, the number of teachers are not growing sufficiently to meet this demand.

This means that retaining teachers is becoming an increasingly important priority, particularly when recruitment targets are not being achieved.

‘Reason why teachers are leaving the profession’

Ms Willis added: “Our evidence indicates that the lack of job satisfaction is a key reason why teachers are leaving the profession.”

The organisation says that tackling workload and long working hours will be vital for improving job satisfaction and boosting teacher retention rates, as this will make the profession more rewarding and attractive to remain in and also enter.

The study was funded by the Nuffield Foundation and its director of education, Josh Hillman, said: “This confirms there are problems in the retention and recruitment, particularly in some parts of the country and in shortage subjects.”

Researchers say that in 2010-11, around 5% of teaching staff in primary schools moved schools but by 2015 the figure doubles to 9%.

For secondary schools, the numbers of teaching staff moving between schools increased to 8% from 4%.

Difficult for schools to maintain staffing levels

Researchers found that the growing numbers who are leaving the profession or moving jobs make it more difficult for schools to maintain their staffing levels.

However, some of the toughest problems with fast-growing class sizes are to be found in London, where teachers are changing their career more than in any other big city.

The study also highlights that the demographics of the teaching profession are changing with the proportion of teachers over the age of 50 who are working full time falling to 17% from 23% between 2010 and 2016.

The Association of School and College Leaders’ general secretary, Geoff Barton, said: “Too many teachers are leaving teaching too early in their career and the NFER is right that more should be done to resolve the problem.”

The researchers say that on average, teachers are working more than 50 hours every week during term which is longer than police officers or nurses.

However, a teacher is the unhappiest of the three professions.

Teaching remains a ‘fulfilling and attractive profession’

Damian Hinds, the education secretary, welcomed the report and said that it’s a government priority to reduce unnecessary workload and to ensure that teaching remains a ‘fulfilling and attractive profession’.

He added: “The inspiring teachers in our classrooms deserve our respect, admiration and thanks.

“We have taken steps to help teacher’s work-life balance but there’s more to do and I will set out a retention and recruitment strategy to help us continue attracting and retaining great teachers.”