Stressed headteachers turn to alcohol

The number of headteachers and senior leaders who are stressed and showing signs of depression has risen sharply, with some turning to alcohol in a bid to cope, according to new research. Tes reports.

A total of 80 per cent of heads and school leaders describe themselves as stressed, while 59 per cent work more than 51 hours a week – even though only 5 per cent are contracted to do so.

The proportion of senior leaders showing signs of depression has risen from 25 per cent last year to 40 per cent this year. And more than a third of education staff who said they used alcohol to cope with workplace stress were heads or senior leaders.

Julian Stanley, chief executive of the Education Support Partnership charity, which is publishing the research, will appear on television on Sunday morning to talk about the findings.

In the foreword of the report, to be published on Monday, he says: “Through a perceived notion of commitment and selflessness this group is failing to seek help when they need it most – something not aided by increasingly intolerable demands and expectations within the current education system.”

The Education Support Partnership research will be presented to MPs in the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Teaching Profession on Monday.

It is based on interviews with 1,500 education staff, from teaching assistants to newly qualified teachers to heads, and from early years to primary and secondary right though to further and adult education.

A third of all staff have turned to alcohol to cope with workplace stress or anxiety in the last year, according to the research, with the largest group being headteachers and senior leaders (at 37 per cent, compared to teachers at 30 per cent).

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT), said: “Everyone knows that on a good day, teaching is one of the most rewarding careers imaginable. The trouble is, there just aren’t enough good days.”

Read the full article Stressed headteachers turn to alcohol

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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