The average age of teachers in secondary schools

The average age of teachers in secondary schools

Graph showing the average age of teachers in secondary schools

July 2016


The OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) is an international survey that gathers information on teachers in secondary schools. The 2013 survey collected responses from over 5 million teachers in 34 jurisdictions and, in addition to exploring teachers’ experiences of the education system in their country, the survey also gathered demographic characteristics such as age.

In this Data Byte we look at how the age profile of teachers in England compares to other jurisdictions in the 2013 TALIS survey.

View PDF

What does the chart show?

The chart shows the average age of secondary school teachers in the jurisdictions included in the 2013 TALIS survey. The average teacher age ranges from 36 years in Singapore to 49 years in Italy. Teachers in England are the fifth youngest in the survey, with an average age of 39 years.

The overall average age for all jurisdictions in the survey is 43 years.

Why is the chart interesting?

The chart shows that, on average, teachers in secondary schools in England are 3.7 years younger than the average across all jurisdictions surveyed. The survey also looked at teachers’ length of experience and, as expected, jurisdictions with younger teachers generally also have teachers with fewer years of experience working as a teacher.

However this does not mean that young teachers in England are necessarily less effective than their older peers. The Institute for Education analysed the TALIS results and compared the results for England to "higher" and "lower" performing jurisdictions, as defined using data from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIACC). The report found that higher and lower performing jurisdictions are distributed across the age range of teachers shown in the chart. For example Singapore and Abu Dhabi have the youngest teachers on average, yet using their methodology Singapore is classed as a high-performing country and Abu Dhabi as a low-performing country. Similarly Bulgaria and Estonia are at the upper end of the age range, with Bulgaria classed as low-performing and Estonia as high-performing.

For more information, please see:

The TALIS survey gathers information in six areas: learning environment, appraisal and feedback, teaching practices and classroom environment, development and support, school leadership, self-efficacy and job satisfaction. The survey results are published in the form of an international report, short reports on individual jurisdictions, and thematic reports; the results are also available via an interactive database. For more information, please see

The next TALIS survey will be in 2018 and it is expected to have a similar content focus as TALIS 2013.

For further information on the school workforce in England, the Department for Education publishes yearly statistics on the school workforce, which are collected through the annual school workforce census.

Research Matters

Research Matters 32 promo image

Research Matters is our free biannual publication which allows us to share our assessment research, in a range of fields, with the wider assessment community.