Teacher Mental Health and Wellbeing

NUT Conference 2017

18 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 22Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Unmanageable workloads, brought about through endless assessment, performance related pay and Ofsted, are creating a toxic environment in schools, leading to many teachers leaving the profession through stress and exhaustion. This is an unacceptable state of affairs not only for teachers but also for the children they teach. The findings of the most recent Department for Education workload survey revealed average weekly working time for all classroom teachers and middle leaders at an unacceptable and unsustainable 54.4 hours. (1)

“As a society we need teachers who are allowed to get on with the job of teaching without being driven into the ground by having to routinely work deep into the evenings and at weekends. As the TUC’s Work Your Proper Hours survey shows, teachers are ranked at the top of every table for excessive hours worked. (2)

“Despite the DfE’s own workload survey, showing the incredible strain many teachers are under, there is nothing of substance being done to address this issue. We are in the middle of a teacher recruitment and retention crisis. In October 2016 the Government confirmed that nearly a third of the teachers who had joined the profession in 2010 had left teaching within 5 years. (3) There needs to be real policy change to the working lives of teachers. This includes limits on working time, binding work/life balance policies and an urgent reform of accountability mechanisms, to ensure that no more capable people are driven out of teaching. Failure to do so will be letting a generation of children down.”

Editor’s Note:

(1)   DfE, Teacher Workload Survey 2016:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-workload-survey-2016

(2)   TUC, Workers in the UK put in £33.6 billion worth of unpaid overtime a yea:
 https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/work-life-balance/employment-rights/working-time-holidays/workers-uk-put-%C2%A3336

(3)   Nick Gibb, Written Parliamentary Answer, 7 October 2016: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-10-07/47083/

NUT Edufacts: Teacher Recruitment and Retention
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/teacher-recruitment-and-retention

NUT Edufacts: Workload
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/workload

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda, please visit
https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

Teachers Building Society