Teacher exodus as thousands go for early exit
Premature retirements account for half of leavers.
The number of teachers quitting before reaching retirement age has reached a record high, as thousands of staff are driven out by plummeting morale and stiffer pension rules.
Government figures reveal that the number of "early retirements" due to ill-health and teachers opting to leave before their official retirement date soared to 9,370 last year, accounting for almost half the numbers retiring from schools in England. The total was 1,500 up on the figure for 2009/10, and double the number recorded in 1998/99.
However, while the numbers retiring due to sickness over the period dwindled from 2,280 to 490, the number of "premature retirements", where teachers apply to quit early, rose from 2,370 to 8,880.
Details of the exodus came after the former chief inspector of schools Christine Gilbert warned that morale in state schools was at "rock bottom". The NASUWT, the biggest teaching union, disclosed that nearly half of its 230,000 members had considered quitting in the last year.
Officials suggested the rise in people quitting was partly explained by a "bulge" in teachers who joined the profession in the 1970s coming to retirement at the same time.
But teaching unions said the hard evidence of teachers voting with their feet underlined complaints they had made about deteriorating pay and pension arrangements, and government measures, including tougher targets and the possibility of regional and performance-related pay.
Read more ... (The Independent - 27 May)