Over half new teachers do not plan to stay in classroom long term amid mental health problems, figures show

The Independent is reporting that nearly three in five teachers in only their first year in the profession are already not convinced that they will stay in teaching – and rising mental health problems are partly to blame, research finds.

Half of newly qualified teachers (NQTs) say their job has caused panic attacks or anxiety, while more than a third have been left feeling depressed, a poll shared exclusively with The Independent shows.

One teacher turns to alcohol late at night to self-medicate in a bid to cope with the challenges, while others say they plan to quit the profession as soon as possible to improve their wellbeing.  

The survey, of more than 275 teachers in their first year of teaching, by a Leeds Beckett University academic, found that only 43 per cent have definite plans to stay in the profession long-term.

Professor Jonathan Glazzard, from Leeds Beckett University, who conducted the poll and who leads research at the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools, said: “It is worrying that they have invested so much money and time into training to be a teacher and they are not staying.”

In recent years, the focus has been on improving children’s wellbeing. But now teaching training providers have begun introducing programmes to help look after trainees who are struggling with their mental health – which include sessions on meditation, mindfulness and yoga.

Sinéad McBrearty, acting CEO at charity Education Support Partnership, said: “We’re particularly concerned about the mental health of this group; with so many considering leaving the profession, the potential impact on children and young people should not be underestimated.”

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said: “Regrettably these findings come as no surprise. Newly qualified teachers are the future of the profession. They are a precious resource but all too often are not treated as such by employers.”

Read more Over half new teachers do not plan to stay in classroom long term amid mental health problems, figures show

Are you planning on leaving? Is it due to mental health problems? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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