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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 16:47 GMT
More teachers are retiring early
teacher in room
The Conservatives blame the pressure of the job
The number of teachers in England taking early retirement is rising year on year, government figures show.

Last year, 9,680 teachers in the state sector retired before they reached 60, compared with 6,740 five years earlier.

The figures, published in response to a parliamentary question from the Conservatives, showed a notable rise in secondary teachers bowing out early.

Early retirement in the private sector has also risen - 590 retired before 60 last year compared with 260 in 2000-01.

David Willetts, the Shadow Education Secretary, said the statistics showed teachers were struggling with poorly behaved pupils and repeated government initiatives.


The statistics show the number of early retirements in the state primary, secondary and further education sectors, as well as the independent sector.

In the secondary sector, the number of teachers retiring early rose from 2,930 in 2001-02 to 3,540 two years later, to 4,370 last year.

The primary sector saw 3,370 early retirements last year, compared to 2,580 in 2001-02.

And the further education sector saw a rise of 460 early retirements last year (1,290) on 2000-01 (830).

A spokesman from the Department for Education and Skills said there were more teachers in post in England than at anytime since 1980.

"In 2005 there were 431,900 full time regular teachers in the maintained sector, up from 399,200 in 1997," the spokesman said.

"Our workforce reforms are turning the tide on teacher workload and ensuring that teachers can focus on their primary task - teaching.

"In addition we continue to work with an expert panel of heads to slash the bureaucratic burden on schools and ensure that any policy changes consider the workload impact on teachers."

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