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N.B. has high retention rate for BEd grads that teach in the public school system

Author: Hilary Creamer Robinson

Posted on Jan 19, 2024

Category: UNB Saint John , UNB Fredericton

Ted McDonald

It’s no secret that New Brunswick is facing a wave of teacher retirements. But a new study investigating teacher recruitment and retention in New Brunswick has brought to light that more than 40 per cent of New Brunswick bachelor of education (BEd) graduates don’t take on teaching positions within the province’s public school system - a statistic that if addressed, could have a considerable impact amidst a swelling wake of job openings.

The study, led by the University of New Brunswick’s (UNB) New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training (NB-IRDT), was undertaken at the request of the province’s Department of Early Education and Childhood Development, which also funded the research.

“The surge in population in New Brunswick has resulted in large increases in the number of school-aged children, and the province is rightly focused on ensuring that there are enough teachers in the system to deliver quality education for all children enrolled,” said Ted McDonald, principal investigator and director, NB-IRDT.

The report, he said, looks at two important dimensions affecting the number of teachers in the province - who moves from a New Brunswick BEd program into employment as a teacher within the province’s public school system, and at what point in their careers do employed teachers leave their jobs.

BEd graduates from out of province, the study shows, do not often stay and work in the New Brunswick school system.

“We find that place of residence matters a lot for whether BEd graduates move into employment, with graduates originally from New Brunswick being much more likely to do so than graduates originally from other places,” said McDonald.

The study shows that 59 per cent of BEd graduates who lived in the province before university stayed to teach in New Brunswick.

For those graduates who do stay and work in N.B. after they graduate, there is some encouraging news: other research suggests nearly one-third of Canadian teachers leave their jobs within the first five years of work; however, the NB-IRDT report reveals consistently high levels of retention among new teachers in New Brunswick.

“We see that about eight per cent of teachers leave the system within five years of starting work,” said McDonald. “Interestingly, for those people leaving teaching, most remain in the province, even those leaving teaching before retirement age. This suggests that they might be available to return to the classroom.”

McDonald, along with NB-IRDT researcher and Senior Data Analyst Pablo Miah, used combined data from health insurance records, graduation records and employment records, allowing the team to study the decisions and career trajectories of everyone represented in the investigation.

It analyzed the data of graduates from UNB, Université de Moncton and St. Thomas University BEd programs, and teachers' attrition and retention rates from 2013 to 2021.