Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

Survey & PhD research: teacher-mothers and the retention of teachers with young children

3 July 2023

Madelaine Best is currently undertaking research at the University of Reading's Institute of Education, under the supervision of Dr Karen Jones and Professor Grace James. The aim of the research is to improve the retention of teachers with young children in the school workforce. Women aged between 30 and 39 account for 27% of leavers from the teaching profession and are the second biggest group of leavers after retirees (Simons et al, 2016).

Although research has explored the challenges facing teacher-mothers, to date little attention has been given to what works and what more needs to be done in terms of work-family policy to support teacher-mothers. Madelaine's research seeks to address this gap. The study began this year with individual interviews with teacher-mothers. Findings from this stage have been used to design a large-scale online survey. Madelaine is now looking for teacher- mothers with pre-school age children to complete the survey, which will take no longer than 15 minutes to complete and can be found at this link (below).

Madelaine will also be interviewing headteachers, as key stakeholders, to explore topics such as flexible-working within the school sector, work-family policies, including what works well and what works less well, for whom and why. It is hoped that these discussions, which will be anonymised and confidential, will be beneficial to headteachers who take part, as well as generating fresh ideas to support policy development at school level, and data to inform the recommendations of this study If you are a Headteacher and you would like to take part in these discussions, please contact Madelaine Best on for more information.

Madelaine Best, PhD Student (Education)

Institute of Education University of Reading London Road Campus 4 Redlands Road Reading RG1 5EX


Twitter @MrsBestPolitics