Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: "Teachers work a lot harder than people realise. And they do it because they are committed public servants. The societies which value their teachers highest, are the ones atop the international league tables.
“On a good day, teaching is one of the most rewarding careers imaginable. The trouble is, there just aren’t enough good days. For many teachers and school leaders, the enormous privilege of helping young people learn and grow can be outweighed by the pressure and workload of the profession they’ve chosen.
“Not only do teachers in this country work longer hours than their peers around the world, they have also been forced to accept years of real-terms pay cuts. Teachers’ average hourly pay has fallen by 15% over the last decade. And they are working under the pressure of an ever more punitive accountability system where one bad year of test results can destroy a career.
“It is no wonder the number of teachers leaving the profession has risen in recent years. There is a serious recruitment and retention crisis in teaching that the government must recognise and take urgent steps to solve. Not just by reducing workload and accountability, but by properly funding schools and teachers’ pay.
“Teachers are graduates who have many career choices open to them. They go into teaching with passion, because they care and want to make a difference, but we have to treat them well and respect their need for a proper work-life balance if we expect them to stay.”
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