The increasing number of new and experienced teachers leaving the teaching profession has caused many school teachers to consider how to leave teaching themselves and seek employment in other industries or teach in indirect roles.

Recent articles, such as the one published in the Independent, look into the rising number of teachers that are choosing to resign from the National Teaching Service, with an in-depth study into the major concerns of current teachers. As more and more teachers choose to leave teaching altogether, many varied reasons are being provided as to why there is a high level of resignations.

One of the common misconceptions in the reasons why certified teachers are looking at how to get out of teaching is that they have lost their love for the job.

While losing a passion for their teaching job is a factor for some people handing in their letter of resignation, it is not a defining factor for every teacher. Many teachers still love their profession yet choose to leave teaching because of the pressure of the modern National Teaching Service and the recent changes in teaching requirements and professional development.

While teachers who have taught for many years are also choosing to resign from teaching, there is a prominent trend in newly trained teachers opting to leave their teaching career after only a few years after becoming a teacher. In recent years, it is estimated that roughly 1 in 10 new teachers are deciding to leave teaching after only holding a position for a year, with the statistics after 5 years showing that only 70% remained teaching.

The reasons for so many resignations can be attributed to a number of reasons, some down to personal circumstance but many down to problems that teachers face with the National Teaching Service.

Some of the most common reasons presented by teachers for leaving the National Teachers Service are down to budget cuts, extensive workloads, badly structured pay and an increasing lack of motivation for the profession. Whether down to one defining reason or a combination of key factors, a teacher’s choice to leave the Nation Teaching Service is a choice personal to them.

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The Increasing Pressure of Budget Cuts

One of the most significant reasons for teachers resigning from their professions are the cuts that have been made to the Department of Education. The effect of the cuts is a primary factor as to why the further reasons behind resignation have been brought about and a substantial influence behind most teacher’s decisions.

Teachers are feeling the heat and jumping ship.
Teachers are under increased pressure as budgets fall. (Photo credit: kevin dooley via / CC BY)

Budget cuts have taken place nationwide, with a map designed by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers along with the National Union of Teachers on Schools Cuts, showing where many of the future proposed cuts will happen.

The effect of budget cuts within the school system can be felt throughout almost every aspect of the running of a school, with subjects, equipment and staff being directly affected. A survey by the Guardian looked into the percentage effects of the budget cuts shows that 81% of those surveyed, had seen cuts in the budget within their schools.

The survey also considered how the budget cuts were reflected in the dropping of certain subjects in a school and the implications for staff teaching those subjects along with further redundancies.

For those teachers who have not already chosen to resign from teaching, the budget cuts and reduction in overall funding are concerning reasons to consider resigning themselves. Much of the concern is directed at the students where the budget cuts cause a lack of available equipment, with teachers often choosing to leave because the budget can’t cover the essentials they need to teach effectively.

Unmanageable Workload Pushing Teachers Out of the NTS

In extension to the shortage of funds across the National Teaching Service, the increased workload that teachers are having to face are making some jobs unmanageable.

With 14% of teachers surveyed by the Guardian saying they were being made redundant and with further cuts to teaching assistants and staff, teachers are having to take on more extra work along with their regular duties. See if you qualify for redundancy pay if leaving teaching. Causing work life to impede on personal lives, the workload is a significant reason that teachers are opting to leave a job in education to allow time to spend with their families.

leaving teaching what next
Life after teaching can be very rewarding. Face your fears and find your passion.


A recent article by ATL showed that, of the teachers surveyed, 93% of teachers viewed the workload of a teacher as the primary reason why people no longer wanted to apply to be a teacher.

This further extends to the retention of teachers and the problems with teachers staying in the profession for more than a 5-year period, taking with them their training when they leave a job in education. Despite many teachers leaving, some schools can’t afford to replace them or hire substitute teachers to cover classes and provide a steady education for students.

With some classes left with no teachers or even a stable supply teacher in the instance of illness, redundancy or resignation, other teachers are having to step into the roles and cover classes and content areas that are not their area of expertise or pedagogy. This is especially a problem with core academic classes where the teacher already has to teach mandatory classes for much longer in secondary schools and the absence of teachers means the workload increases significantly.

Some schools are managing the lack of teachers through combining classes together, something that creates an even bigger workload for the teachers. Increased students in a class means more documents and assignments, as well as more time having to be spent giving individual attention to each student.

Leaving Teaching Due to low Pay and Pay Gaps

jobs for ex teachers can improve quality of life
Many teachers are leaving teaching for a better career and better pay!

The increased workload is causing teachers to further examine whether or not they are receiving adequate pay for the work they are doing.

This is particularly the case for new teachers starting out in teaching, with around 30% leaving for new jobs before 5 years spent as a teacher. The average salary a teacher receives in England who has been teaching for less than 10 years is £22,000 while teachers who have been in the profession for more than 10 years receive on average £35,000 a year.

The £13,000 pay gap between new and experienced teachers mean that new teachers entering teaching are finding it harder to cope with the pay, especially entering the profession and facing a workload that is much higher than expected. This also means that less and less teachers are willing to apply for teaching jobs at struggling schools where the jobs are not as secure as other education jobs. More and more, teachers are applying for online tutoring jobs and tutoring jobs London and around the UK.

Teachers who still love teaching are seeking teacher jobs elsewhere, such as private schools and teaching abroad where the pay better reflects the workload they are having to face.

There is also a second pay gap relevant in the National Teaching Service, showing a substantial difference between the salary for male and female teachers. On average, female teachers are earning around 6.4% less than a male equivalent teaching in secondary schools, an elemental factor in the decision for some female teachers to leave teaching in pursuit of other careers.

Lack of Motivation Towards the Changes to the National Teaching Service

A combination of the significant reasons why many teachers are looking into how to leave teaching, motivation to continue working under the strain is often a deciding factor for many teachers. The lack of funding to work efficiently and the resulting workload because of it is causing teachers to lose motivation in a job that they decided to pursue out of a desire to share knowledge, increase teaching standards and help students. While there are many factors causing a lack of motivation, one of the primary reasons are the changing government policies that are affecting schools across the UK.

From 2013 to 2016, the numbers of teachers who decided to leave the National Teaching Service saw an increase of 11%. Despite the increase in teachers leaving, the government policies put in place to set the recruitments levels of teachers saw the targets fall short from 2012 to 2016, leaving schools short of teachers and further lowering the morale of current teachers, pushing them into a new job search.

The lack of teachers interested in open teaching positions has caused many schools to hire underqualified teachers for jobs, with 28% of secondary school physics classes in 2014 being taught be teachers who hadn’t obtained any qualification or teaching credential past that of an A-level in the subject. As the government policies fail to provide adequate levels of teaching staff, the low motivation to continue in under-staffed schools is a significant reason for teachers handing in their letter of resignation.

While some new government policies are accepted by schools, others feel that the new changes are unreasonable and unbeneficial to students and staff alike. The combination of teaching pay freezes, Ofsted inspections without prior notice, and extensive changes to curriculum are just a few of the government changes that resulted in an increase of stress, pressure from parents and an overall decrease in teaching motivation.

The reasons why many teachers are wondering how to resign from teaching are extensive and a combination of many factors that compile to make the job just too much to cope with. With even more teachers looking for find new employment as they feel the stress is becoming unmanageable, the reasons why a teacher might resign from the National Teaching Service could see even more growth in coming years.

Next Steps To Leaving Your Job As A Teacher

If you are indeed thinking about leaving the education sector, or at least considering handing in your notice to terminate your classroom teaching role, then you may be wondering what is next for you. For many people, teaching is all they have ever known, graduating from university and going straight into a teaching position, thus barely leaving the education environment at all.

So, what can become of an ex-teaching professional?

The good news is that, as a result of your hard training, you will already be a diligent and organised individual who is prepared to put in the hours of work required to succeed. If that wasn't the case, you would never have made it as a teacher in the first place! Moreover, as a professional teacher, you are bound to be patient and level-headed, which means you can approach any position you undertake with a focused mind. Secondary school teachers will also have a particular specialism, whether this is a science, language, maths or a creative field.

Check out the areas of work listed below which might interest you in the future as a previous teacher.

Alternative Positions At Schools

Qualified teachers with no permanent place at an educational establishment are in a good position to become cover tutors, covering a range of schools within a certain county. The nature of this work is that you could be placed in a school or college for several weeks to cover the long-term absence of a staff member, or you could be telephoned on the day and asked to step in when an expected absence arises.

You will be expected to have your own transport but you will be given a lesson plan to work from, which means that you do not have to do any of the planning. This opens you up to cover for a broad range of lessons because you do not need to display the expertise and are simply put there to support the students and to encourage progression while their usual teacher is unavailable.

While this kind of fill-in work can be advantageous in that there's much less strain on you and your personal life (since most cover teachers will simply work between 9am and 4pm), it can also be a bit challenging to gain the respect of the pupils and to get them to be serious and focus.

Indirect Teaching Jobs

Alternatively, trained teachers may wish to consider becoming support staff.

This enables you to retain close contact with pupils and to help them along their educational journey but once again without the pressure of preparing lessons. Even if you choose to work in an office-based job at a school, you will still more than likely get to interact with pupils and teaching staff and your previous experience could be a big bonus for the hiring staff who will no doubt want someone with some knowledge of the system.

If they have the right qualifications, staff could be placed in a classroom with the job of supporting one or perhaps two kids with additional needs.

Last but not least, ex-teachers could put their skills to good use by becoming private tutors or by setting up independent teaching classes via a franchise set-up. Language teachers, for instance, could consider setting up weekly classes held in children's centres dedicated to teaching youngsters how to acquire a new language. Individuals would more than likely need to register as self-employed and declare their earnings from this type of activity.

Meanwhile, private tutoring is a popular choice because it enables you to work from home (or visit pupils at their own houses) and to be flexible with your working hours. The downside to this is that most private tutors have to work evenings and weekends to avoid school hours but the positive is that you simply work with what was covered by the student's teacher in class and don't have to plan individual lessons!

Parents will be much happier hiring a private tutor or attending weekly lessons if they know that you are trained, qualified and have gone through the necessary checks to work with children.

Non-Teaching Roles

Of course, even if you are passionate about teaching and working with children, this doesn't mean to say that you have to dedicate your entire career to the profession. After several years of service, you may feel that you have done your bit for the next generation and are happy to move onto a brand new venture.

In an article, The Guardian suggests five professions that would suit someone leaving the teaching sector. A couple of these are:

"Education liaison roles

If you still feel passionate about the teaching profession, you might be interested in taking a behind-the-scenes role. You could get involved in the recruitment and training of new teachers for organisations such as Teach First, or become a school partnership manager and organise teaching placements. How about working in a liaison role between schools, higher education and employers, advising on admissions, training courses, apprenticeships or vocational training?

Many sector skills councils, such as People 1st (in the retail and tourism trades) or Creative Skillset (in the creative industries), have these types of role. Professional institutes, such as the Royal College of Psychiatrists or British Science Association, also need these skills. Your educational background could be a real asset in helping them encourage new entrants into their respective industries and supporting them with their training and professional development.

Work for an educational supplier

There are thousands of companies who see schools as their target market. This includes educational software companies, those selling curriculum resources, IT and furniture suppliers, facilities management, training courses – the list is endless. As a teacher you could add valuable insight into their sales process, become an account manager, help with their marketing and develop new products and services. You will need to show you are commercially savvy and perhaps even go on some additional business-related training, but having a teacher on board is undoubtedly an advantage for any company trying to win new customers in education. The school suppliers trade body Besa will give you an idea of the type of suppliers that could benefit from your experience."

How To Boost Your CV With Your Teaching Experience

As with any CV for any area of work, prospective employees will be looking at how you present yourself both in writing and in person. However, as a qualified teacher, professionals will expect certain standards and will want to see how your experience helps you to stand out from the competition.

Using good English in your CV is a must, but also the use of the correct vocabulary can go a long way. TES suggests using key action verbs such as achieved, accomplished, managed, improved, developed and positive adjectives like resourceful, versatile, innovative, positive, productive to take your resume from a standard one to an outstanding one.

When writing your personal statement, remember that it's the first thing your employer will read so it’s important to get right. This is the only part in the initial application process, aside from writing a cover letter if applicable, where you get to reach out to the prospective employer with eloquent language rather than listing experience and qualifications. It is here that you will be able to demonstrate your qualities and motivations and can inject a bit of personality.

When writing your personal statement, remember these three triggers:

  1. Where you are in your career?
  2. What are your key achievements to date?
  3. What do you feel are your personal qualities?

Use a few sentences only but make sure every word counts and has its place there!

If you have been teaching for numerous years, you may have a long list of training courses and places of work to list. You are best using bullet points to break this up, stating the role, school and dates that you were in post, with no more than a brief summary of specific teaching responsibilities and achievements in each role.

Employees from outside of the sector don't want to know the ins and outs of your various teaching positions. Besides, you need to leave some things to talk about during an interview!

When applying for any job, whether in education or another industry or sector, employers like to know what interests you outside of your working life. For instance, tell them if you love to play a particular sport or you have a talent for arts and crafts, because these are things that could be useful to them or which, at the very least, display your ability to commit to activities.

Most managers like people who will be part of the larger community, so anything that you think could make you a more worthy employer than someone else is worth mentioning.

How And Where To Search For Your Next Job

As a teaching professional, you'll probably be accustomed to looking for vacancies on dedicated websites like TES, or by targeting schools in your area. However, when you don't quite know what you want to do, let alone which industry you wish to move into, looking for work isn't that easy or straightforward.

Unfortunately for you, you will have to keep your eyes peeled on job search sites like Indeed, Monster, Total Jobs, or by looking at local advertisements in the newspaper. Social Networking sites like LinkedIn are also a great place to browse potential jobs, as well as possible employers and prospective employees!

The best advice we can give you if you are leaving one career to start another is to really think about what interests you and makes you happy.

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As an Englishman in Paris, I enjoy growing my knowledge of other languages and cultures. I'm interested in History, Economics, and Sociology and believe in the importance of continuous learning.