From education to employment


NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach

Ministers, employers and inspectorates are failing in their duty of care to teachers, with a lack of action to address workload and the impact of the pandemic driving up stress and poor mental health to unprecedented levels.

A survey by NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, into teacher wellbeing has found that nine in ten teachers have experienced more work-related stress in the last 12 months, with 91% reporting that their job has adversely impacted their mental health in the last year.

The impact of the pandemic has driven up teachers’ workloads that were already excessive still further, yet there is overwhelming evidence that schools, governments and employers are failing to take all reasonable steps to mitigate the impact on teachers and to put in place steps to support their physical and mental wellbeing.

More than three-quarters (78%) say that their school does not provide staff with workspaces that promote wellbeing and two thirds of teachers say that their school does not have measures in place to monitor and manage stress and burnout.

At national level the picture is even more damning, with more than four in five teachers (81%) saying they do not believe Government policies support schools to respond to the mental health and wellbeing of teachers.

Nearly all respondents (98%) said they did not believe the inspection system takes teachers’ mental health and wellbeing into account when assessing schools.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“While the pandemic has been tough for everyone, teachers have been right in the eye of the storm. Even before Covid-19 teachers were already caught in a spiral of increasing workload and stress and the events of the last two years have turbo-charged the pressure they are under.

“This was not inevitable. Excessive workloads and working hours should not be accepted as an intrinsic part of the job of teaching. There are a multitude of practical steps which employers, governments and inspectorates can take, and which we have been pressing for, which would reduce the pressures on teachers without sacrificing educational standards or rigour in our schools.

“Cutting out unnecessary bureaucracy, trusting teachers to teach and giving them greater freedom and autonomy to help pupils learn and progress – this is the model followed by the best employers and the most successful education systems globally.

“Establishing working conditions which support the health and wellbeing of teachers will deliver a win-win in schools’ efforts to ensure the best outcomes for pupils.

“Instead, employers and governments are fixated on heaping ever more pressure on teachers on the damaging assumption that teachers’ dedication to their pupils is unbreakable. The damaging toll on teachers’ health and wellbeing cannot continue to be written off as collateral damage.

“This is no way to run a world-class education service.

“If the Government is truly committed to the educational success of children and young people, Ministers must deliver a better deal for teachers.”

Related Articles