Record numbers of UK teachers and education staff have considered leaving the sector in the past academic year due to pressures on their mental health and wellbeing, a new survey finds.
Over half of staff – including respondents in the independent sector – have actively sought to change or leave their current jobs, citing workload as the main factor, the research from the charity Education Support says.
The findings, part of the 2022 Teacher Wellbeing Index, conducted annually by Education Support in conjunction with YouGov, showed that overall, stress levels have increased when compared to 2021. Staff working in education also continue to experience higher levels of depression and anxiety than those reported in the general population.
In a survey of 3,082 education professionals:
- 59 per cent of staff have considered leaving the sector in the past academic year due to pressures on their mental health and wellbeing (67 per cent of senior leaders, 59 per cent of school teachers)
- 55 per cent of staff have actively sought to change or leave their current jobs (58 per cent senior leaders, 53 per cent school teachers)
- 68 per cent of staff cited volume of workload as the main reason for thinking about leaving their jobs (83 per cent senior leaders, 66 per cent school teachers)
- 75 per cent of all staff are stressed (84 per cent of senior leaders, 72 per cent of school teachers)
- 47 per cent of all staff always go into work when unwell (61 per cent of senior leaders, 45 per cent of school teachers)
- 78 per cent of all staff experienced mental health symptoms due to their work (87 per cent senior leaders, 76 per cent school teachers)
The sector has been further hit by the cost-of-living crisis with school leaders warning of “catastrophic” measures they will be forced to take this winter – including restricting heating in classrooms and cutting staff.
Commenting on this year’s Index, Sinéad Mc Brearty, CEO of Education Support said:
“These findings paint a grave picture for the future of education. The Prime Minister has made clear his commitment to growth and the skills agenda, but the reality of the education workforce crisis will not magic itself away. No-one has sought to create this situation, but these chronic, entrenched dynamics around workload, stress and mental ill health will limit our national ambition for a generation. We are witnessing the slow disintegration of the workforce.”
“Whilst these data make difficult reading for everyone involved in trying to make the system the best it can be, the simple fact is that we are failing. Our children and young people deserve so much more from us. It is time to invest in the workforce and to remove the well documented drivers of significant stress in the system.”
To download a full copy of the report, including conclusions and recommendations visit the Teacher Wellbeing Index 2022.