‘Many teachers contemplate leaving due to workload’

Many teachers see themselves leaving the profession in the next few years due to excessive workloads and lack of work/life balance.



Two fifths of teachers predict they will no longer be working in education by 2024, and almost one fifth of all respondents expect to be gone within two years,  with workload cited as the main reason, according to a large survey by the National Education Union.

Some 26% of those with between two and five years’ experience intend to leave education in the next five years.
For those with less than two years’ experience, this drops to 15%.

When asked why they would be leaving, workload (62%) and the accountability regime (40%) were the main reasons given, with these reasons significantly more likely to be given by those will less than five years’ experience.

When asked what would make their job better in the next 12 months, many respondents referred to being micro-managed. The survey of around 8,000 teachers finds:

  • 56% of respondents believe their work-life balance has got worse or much worse in the past year.
  • 31% believe it has stayed the same, while just 12% think it has got better or much better.

When broken down by job type, the deterioration is noticeably worse for senior leadership (66%) and heads of department/middle leaders (66%). 38% of support staff report being worse off, with a further 52% – higher than any other job type – reporting a work-life balance consistent with two years ago.

When asked “what would be the one thing that would make your job better in the next 12 months?” the individual responses were dominated by calls for a reduction in workload. Many of the responses reflected a concern that the accountability regime both from Whitehall and within schools was damaging learning.

When asked what caused them stress, teachers identified very strongly with workload and workload-related issues in their answers. Support staff are more likely to be stressed by personal finances.

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: “It is clear from our survey that the Government is doing a far better job of driving teachers out of the profession than they are solving the issue of excessive workload. Damian Hinds has made many of the right noises about fixing the problem, but he and his predecessors have achieved very little.

“The fundamental problem, as the results of our survey shows, is one of excessive accountability brought on by the DfE and Ofsted. The blame is at their door. So long as the main drivers of a performance-based system are still in place, schools will continue to be in the grip of a culture of fear, over-regulation, and a lack of trust.

“We need drastic action and a major rethink from Government if we are to stop the haemorrhaging of good teachers from the profession. Action so far – including clarification documents endorsed by the NEU – has not made the difference. It continues to be a case of fiddling at the edges.”

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