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Misery for teachers as heavy workloads lead to nearly half wanting to quit the job, poll shows 

‘Everything is pared to the bone’: Misery for teachers as heavy workloads lead to nearly half wanting to quit the job, poll shows

  • New poll shows nearly half of teachers in England plan to quit within next 5 years
  • A fifth have also said they would leave within 2 years, the NEU survey shows
  • This comes ahead of National Education Union’s annual conference this week

Nearly half of England’s teachers plan to quit within the next five years, according to an education poll.

And a fifth said they would leave within two years, many citing heavy workload as a significant factor in their decision.

The staggering figures come ahead of the National Education Union’s annual conference in Bournemouth this week.

Nearly half of England's teachers plan to quit within the next five years, according to an education poll (stock photo used)

Nearly half of England’s teachers plan to quit within the next five years, according to an education poll (stock photo used)

In the NEU survey of 1,788 teachers, over half of respondents – 52 per cent – said their workload was ‘unmanageable’ or ‘unmanageable most of the time’, up from 35 per cent last year (2021).

Pay and concerns about the level of trust in teachers from the public and Government were also key motivators.

Teachers said schools were finding it difficult to fill vacancies, leading to a doubling up of roles, with 73 per cent reporting the issue had got worse since the start of the pandemic. One described how ‘everything is pared to the bone’.

Dr Mary Bousted, the joint NEU general secretary, accused successive education secretaries of failing ‘to get a grip on the issues facing teachers’.

Dr Bousted added that teaching was a ‘great and fulfilling job’ which people enter because they want to make a difference, ‘yet the Government makes this more difficult’.

Members were working in an ‘unattractive’ profession with ‘amongst the highest number of unpaid working hours’, she added, which is ‘simply unsustainable’.

The staggering figures come ahead of the National Education Union's annual conference in Bournemouth this week (stock photo used)

The staggering figures come ahead of the National Education Union’s annual conference in Bournemouth this week (stock photo used)

‘Our survey findings show that, whether it be recruitment targets missed, talented teachers leaving the profession, the pernicious effects of a punitive and deeply flawed inspection system, or the effect of real-term cuts to pay over many years, a national policy is always the villain of the piece, ‘Dr Bousted said.

The Department for Education said three in five people who started teaching ten years ago remained in the job today.

It added 37,000 new trainee teachers were recruited to start training in 2021/22.

A spokesman said: ‘We recognize the pressure that staff in schools and colleges have been under and are enormously grateful to them for their efforts, resilience and service now and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘Teaching remains an attractive and fulfilling profession. The number of teachers in our schools remains high, with more than 461,000 teachers working in schools across the country – 20,000 more than in 2010.

‘We have taken and will continue to take action to improve teacher and leader workloads and wellbeing, working proactively with the sector to understand the drivers behind such issues and improve our policies and interventions.’

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