Finding appropriate teaching talent is the highest priority for education providers in 2024, with more than half (56%) of senior education professionals ranking attraction and retention of staff as the biggest problem facing their organisation today and 59% saying they expect it to remain a priority throughout the year.
Meanwhile, a third (31%) of teachers and education professionals ranked tackling inefficiencies as the second biggest current challenge for their organisation and 43% said boosting efficiency and increasing productivity was a priority for the coming year.
The findings are reported in the Advanced Education Trends Report 2023/24, which compiled the findings from a survey of more than 6,600 senior decision makers from a variety of sectors in the UK including 267 teaching or education professionals.
Mark Dewell, Senior Vice President, Education, Government and Social Housing from Advanced, said:
“The education sector faces significant challenges in attracting and retaining talent. The DfE’s own data released in June 2023 shows that almost 40,000 teachers left the profession this year for reasons other than retirement – the highest ever number of resignations since records began in 2010. It’s not at all surprising, therefore, to find that staffing is the absolute highest priority for education leaders this year.
“The battle to deliver quality education in the face of a staffing crisis and real-term budget cuts is having a serious impact on the sector’s ability to deliver quality results. Some organisations have made the decision to reduce staff numbers to cope with underfunding, which is having a negative impact on the curriculum they can deliver and does little to allay concerns over retention of top talent,” Dewell continued.
The Advanced Education Trends Report 2023/24 also examines the uptake of new technology in the education sector. Around one in 10 (12%) of education providers are using AI tools in learning – which is less than half of the general rate of uptake of AI tools across businesses in the UK.
The main reason for lack of AI adoption is lack of budget – 40% of education leaders said that financial pressures were the reason that they had not invested in new technology. A third (30%) reported that they hadn’t yet adopted AI at work due to concerns over the risks it may present to their organisation, while 20% said it was down to a lack of knowledge or guidance on best practice for implementation of AI.
“Technology can be a secret weapon to help educators tackle their concerns around talent attraction, as well as supporting a host of other issues in their organisations, yet there is seldom sufficient budget to allow education providers to invest in modern tech systems,” continued Dewell. “Nearly half (46%) of education professionals are juggling a combination of on-premise and cloud-based infrastructure. Trying to integrate disparate systems can make things very inefficient, slowing people down with multiple sign-ins and managing data held in different formats.
“With organisations having to achieve more with less, implementing the most appropriate technology is a crucial step that should not be compromised on. It can help drive efficiencies and more effective processes that benefit teaching staff, administrative teams, and of course learners themselves.”
The full report is available here