We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Research & business

View Research Directory

Understanding the complex determinants of teacher shortages: an integrated approach

A research project of the School of Education.


Teacher shortages in England have been a persistent cause for concern. Reanalyses of statistics on teacher demand and supply suggest that the teacher shortages are at least partly created by government policies, as much as by the mere increase in student numbers. Despite huge investments in a range of interventions the problem remains, and is getting worse. Part of the reason is because teacher recruitment and retention strategies tend to be short term. There is also a lack of understanding of the causes of teacher shortages. Hence policy initiatives to influence recruitment and retention have not been very effective, and many have never been evaluated robustly.

The aim of this research is to provide an integrated analysis of contributing factors to the complex issue of teacher supply. It will identify the long-term determinants of teacher demand and supply, assess the impact of policy initiatives to improve recruitment and retention, and investigate individuals’ career decisions. This will involve large-scale analyses of national datasets from a combination of sources, and policy documents to establish the nature of the problem, systematic review of international evidence and cross-sectional analysis of undergraduates’ career intentions.

Privacy notice availble here


The project is funded by the following grant.

  • RF230128: Understanding the complex determinants of teacher shortages: an integrated approach, ESRC, £387533.00, 2018-09-01 - 2021-02-28


From the School of Education