Schoolzone blog: Feeling old?

Feeling old?
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13 March 2015

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Do you sometimes look around the staffroom and feel old? Maybe you wonder whether, like policemen, teachers are getting younger and younger. Other teachers that is, not you personally, of course.

Well, the news is: they are! At least here in the UK, they are. But across all OECD countries, UK teachers are getting younger fastest, according to a report released last week.

As someone who left teaching at the age of 39, feeling already too old, this seems like a very good thing, and it reflects the impact of recruitment strategies initiated by the last Labour government (figures run to 2011). Although it also covers the first 2-3 years of the recession, so it may be that more graduates are turning to teaching as it's more secure than other professions.

In many other countries the teaching population is ageing:

  • More than one-third of male primary school teachers in OECD countries are now over 50 years old.
  • Across OECD countries, the average age of secondary school teachers has increased by one month every year in the last decade.
  • Only a few countries have managed to develop policies which lower the average age of teachers significantly.
  • Increasing the numbers of female teachers no longer lowers the average age,
    as the female teaching workforce is ageing faster than its male counterpart.

The global ageing of teachers is faster than the general population, too.

Here in the UK, the reverse trend has to be a good thing, financially too: older teachers cost more. One can't help wondering if this has been factored into DfE predicted budgets - but let's not tell them!





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