Teachers experience more stress than other workers, study shows
Teachers endure greater job-related stress than other professionals, according to the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).
With pupil numbers rising and an increasing proportion of teachers leaving the profession, the report found that one in five felt tense about their job most or all of the time, compared with 13% of those in similar occupations.
Although teachers’ working hours across the year were similar to those in other professions, working intensively over fewer weeks of the year led to a poorer work-life balance and higher stress levels, the NFER observed.
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said the report echoed the longstanding concerns about the anxieties faced by teachers.
“The reasons that so many leave the profession so quickly are not a mystery to us,” she said. “When faced with impossible workloads, endless accountability, a testing culture run riot and flat or underfunded pay deals year after year, it is all too common for good teachers to leave the profession.”
The NFER called for urgent action to address the shortfall in the number of trainee teachers amid a significant drop in retention rates of early career teachers, noting the higher job security graduates can enjoy outside of the profession.
Jack Worth, co-author of the report, said: “England’s schools are facing significant challenges in recruiting and retaining sufficient numbers of teachers … There is a clear need to improve the working conditions of teachers, with a focus on making the teaching career more manageable and sustainable.”
The report comes after the department for education published its Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy in January to address the growing shortage of teachers by reducing workloads and simplifying the application process.
The education secretary, Damian Hinds, said: “Since I took this job a year ago, I’ve made cutting down the amount of unnecessary and bureaucratic workload teachers face my top priority – to address the issues highlighted in this report and free up teachers to focus on what they joined the profession to do: teach.”