Today, the Education Support Partnership (ESP) publishes new research which picks up on some of the key concerns about workload and pressure already expressed by school leaders.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Everyone knows that 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.”
According to ESP’s new report, 78% of all education professionals are experiencing either behavioural, psychological or physical symptoms due to their work. Senior leaders reported the highest levels of stress in 2019 (84%), up from 80% in 2018 and 75% in 2017. More than half of education professionals (57%) have considered leaving the sector in the past two years.
NAHT’s own research supports these findings, with 33% of respondents to a recent survey of middle leaders (teachers with both teaching and leading responsibilities) saying they were thinking of leaving the profession. Only 49% said they aspired to headship, with Concerns about work/life balance (79%) and accountability pressures (69%) as the top two reasons.
Mr Whiteman continued: “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 more is needed to create a truly positive proposition for a career in teaching. The essential components include competitive pay, attractive and flexible working conditions, a healthy work-life balance, opportunities for career-long continuing professional development, and lower risk ways of holding schools to account. Ultimately it is very simple: pay people properly and treat them well.”
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