Evidence for Learning: Supporting teacher recruitment and retention

Supporting teacher recruitment and retention

Three evidence reviews on approaches for flexible working, managing teacher workload and school leadership from the EEF

Three evidence reviews on approaches to support teacher recruitment and retention from the Education Endowment Foundation

E4L’s partners at the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) have released three evidence reviews looking at strategies to support the recruitment and retention of teachers in schools with high levels of children and young people who are experiencing disadvantage.

Attracting and retaining teachers, particularly in school communities experiencing disadvantage, is a current challenge for many education systems, including in Australia (Department of Education, 2022).

The reviews focus on the English context but contain some global literature for school leadership approaches, and literature from jurisdictions comparable to England (including Australia) for flexible working approaches.

This mixed methods review includes a rapid evidence assessment of research evidence and grey literature from England and comparable jurisdictions, as well as information from England such as analysis of school census data, teacher job adverts and school flexible working policies, and interviews with experts. It concludes that flexible working could help to improve wellbeing and job satisfaction, as well as teacher productivity and motivation. However, the research also highlights school leader concerns around budgeting and the lack of consistency for students.

This rapid evidence assessment looked at school leadership for supporting teacher retention and was based on a synthesis of 89 global studies that met inclusion criteria and underwent an evidence quality assessment. Findings of the review affirm the importance of school leadership and indicate that effective approaches and strategies to motivate and retain teachers in schools include prioritising teacher development, promoting collegiality, and maintaining a positive school climate.

The workload practice review followed a mixed methods approach that included survey data and interviews from teachers and school leaders in England and a rapid desk review which focused on workload issues and solutions for teachers working with high proportions of disadvantaged students in England. It found that most schools in England are using multiple strategies to manage teacher workload including protected time for planning and marking, and making units of work and lesson plans available. It showed that teachers in English schools with more workload reduction strategies in place were much more likely to have positive views of their workload, autonomy and job satisfaction.

The EEF will develop new research projects informed by the findings of these reviews which will test the impact of specific approaches.


Department of Education. (2022). The National Teacher Workforce Plan. Australian Government. https://www.education.gov.au/teaching-and-school-leadership/resources/national-teacher-workforce-action-plan