School Workforce Data: what can I learn?


School Workforce Census data can be really useful if you are interested in education statistics.

It includes information about teachers’ salaries, qualifications, sickness absence levels, number of teaching vacancies and more.

If you are interested in delving into statistics and trends or just want to have an idea of how many teachers are in the state system it can be a helpful starting point.

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In this support article, we outline what information is available and highlight the headline facts and figures from the last year.

School Workforce Data: what information is available?

The School Workforce Census collects information from schools and local authorities on the school workforce in state-funded schools in England.

The census is a statutory data collection that takes place each autumn. 

Independent schools, non-maintained special schools, sixth-form colleges and further education establishments are not included.

The annual publication sets out the

  • numbers of, and full time equivalent (FTE) numbers of teachers and support staff in service
  • number of entrants to, and leavers from, teaching
  • teacher retention
  • teacher retirements
  • characteristics of teachers and support staff, including gender, age and ethnic group
  • teachers’ pay
  • teachers’ qualifications
  • curriculum taught by secondary school teachers
  • teacher vacancies
  • teacher sickness absence
  • pupil-to-teacher ratios

The document includes information at national, regional and local authority levels, and associated data files at school level.

School Workforce data: headline facts and figures

The size of the school workforce

  • In 2020/21, the full-time equivalent (FTE) of 963,000 people were working in state-funded schools in England. Of these, nearly half were teachers, most of which (97%) held qualified teacher status
  • FTE teachers in England have increased by 7,000 since last year, and by 20,000 since 2010.
  • The type of school in which teachers worked was split evenly between nurseries/primary and secondary schools; 48% of teachers worked in nurseries and primary schools, 46% in secondary schools and the remaining 5% in special or PRU schools.

Teacher pay

  • In 2020/21, the average FTE salary for teachers was £41,800 per annum – an increase of £1,300 since last year
  • Classroom teacher average salary was £38,400
  • Leadership teacher (excluding headteachers) average salary was £56,400
  • Headteacher average salary was £73,500

Average salaries vary by type of school: 

  • The average salary of a nursery and primary classroom teacher was £36,900
  • The average salary of a secondary classroom teacher was £39,900
  • The average salary of a special school classroom teacher was £38,700
  • Salaries were higher on average in LA maintained schools than academies. The exception was headteachers in academy primary schools. In previous years, headteacher salaries were also higher in academy secondary schools.

London and surrounding areas have higher average teacher salary than the rest of the country.

Teacher characteristics


3 in 5 teachers were aged between 30 and 49. The proportion of teachers aged 30 to 49 has increased gradually over the past 10 years, whereas teachers aged 50+ has decreased.


The gender of teachers varies by grade; 75% of classroom teachers and 67% of headteachers were female. This has been consistent over time.

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