Tories: More teachers quitting

Double the number of teachers are leaving their positions now than in the late 1990s, the Conservatives have claimed.

The Tories have highlighted figures which suggest that between 1995 and 2000 fewer than 50,000 people left the profession under the age of 60.

But between 2000 and 2005 that number doubled to nearly 100,000, according to the party’s education spokesman Michael Gove.

“It seems to us to be a worrying trend that more and more people who are qualified teachers are choosing to leave the profession and that means that experience and talent, which should be there in the classroom, isn’t there any more,” he told the Today programme.

“Of course when you are looking at the education system in the round there are a number of factors that you’ll look at when you assess the health of the whole system.”

He added that stress on the individual teacher was increasing and that many felt symptoms such as rising blood pressure levels, while many were “exasperated with the level of bureaucracy that they face” and concerned that disciplinary problems were not being dealt with.

“There are two primary concerns [teachers] have: the level of micro-management, the way in which the Whitehall screwdriver goes right into the heart of almost every lesson,” he continued.

“And the second thing of course is the whole question of discipline and behaviour.”

The government has defended its record on education, with schools minister Jim Knight saying “highly-qualified, talented individuals” were now choosing to become teachers.

“No government has done more to support teachers,” he said.

The debate comes on the same day as a former advisor to Tony Blair and Charles Clarke said that the way to lift failing schools in Britain is to partner them with schools that are reaching high standards.

Robert Hill, who makes his recommendations in a new book entitled Achieving More Together published by the Association of School and College Leaders, said experience proves that such partnerships work and should be adopted across the education system.