A new report by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) looking at the issues facing the teacher workforce in England shows that job-related stress is higher among teachers than other professionals.
The report indicates that growing pupil numbers, shortages in the number of trainee teachers and a rising proportion of teachers leaving the profession mean that “urgent action” is needed to ensure a sufficient supply of teachers.
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.
Two out of five teachers (41%) are dissatisfied with their amount of leisure time, compared to 32% of similar professionals. Making teachers’ workload more manageable therefore presents the biggest potential area for improving retention.
The report follows the publication of the governments new Teacher Recruitment and Retention strategy, designed to address the growing shortage of teachers by reducing workloads and simplifying the application process.
Jack Worth, the report's co-author, welcomed the government’s plans but has said further action is needed.
“England’s schools are facing significant challenges in recruiting and retaining sufficient numbers of teachers,” he said.
“Nurturing, supporting and valuing teachers is vital to making teaching an attractive and rewarding career choice.
"In order to do this, there is a clear need to improve the working conditions of teachers, with a focus on making the teaching career more manageable and sustainable.”
How can we help?
In a time of increased workloads, changing educational policy and teacher shortages, we have taken steps to ensure that all our schools staff have access to the support services they need to overcome stress.
A large part of this revolves around our partnership with APL Health - a market leading occupational health and wellbeing provider who specialise in the education sector. They work with staff to identify the early signs of stress, put provisions in place for stress related absences, reduce a culture of stress in the workplace and deal with individuals suffering from stress.
From counselling and mental health first aid (MHFA) training to stress management seminars, they provide schools with a range of support services designed to help your workforce through any professional or personal difficulties they are experiencing.
APL Health’s services are included at no additional cost to our insurance policy and are available to all insured members of staff.
You can learn more about APL Health and the benefits they offer our schools here.