A YouGov survey of 1,250 school and college staff and leaders was published this week, with 75% of respondents saying they had experienced psychological, physical or behavioural symptoms due to workload and ‘work-life’ balance issues. This is 13% higher than the UK working population as a whole.
Echoing findings from a National Audit Office’s (NAO) report which found that nearly 35,000 teachers left the profession last year due to reasons besides retirement, the YouGov survey found that 53% of respondents had considered leaving the education sector in the last two years due to work pressures impacting their health.
In response to these findings, the Education Support Partnership, which commissioned the survey, have made the following recommendations:
A health and wellbeing policy to be introduced in all education institutions which is measurable, monitored and reviewed at regular points each year;
More focus to be included on initial teacher training (ITT), NQT training and induction to ensure that those who are new to the profession, are properly prepared for handling key teaching challenges and workload;
An accountability framework to be implemented which supports and empowers the profession, with Ofsted using health and wellbeing measures to promote a healthier working culture.
Governing boards as employers, or exercising employer responsibility, owe a duty of care to their employees. Governors should ask legitimate questions regarding the implementation and effectiveness of school policies, ask staff for their views and monitor their workloads, in order to retain good teachers.