Teacher stress levels in England ‘soaring’, data shows

The BBC is reporting that an investigation by its File on 4 programme has found stress levels among teachers in England’s classrooms are soaring…

…Insurance industry data suggests stress is the biggest cause of staff absence save for maternity.

The Department for Education insists it is working “to tackle the issue of unnecessary workload which we know can lead to stress”.

The BBC has also seen a survey of 3,500 members of the Nasuwt teaching union which shows more than two-thirds of respondents considered quitting the profession in the past year…

Absence Protection Ltd’s figures show stress accounts for more than double the number of days taken off work for illnesses such as colds or viruses.

More than half its 1,800 clients made stress-related claims last year. And academies, state-funded but privately run schools, saw the highest proportion of lost teaching days due to stress.

According to the firm’s Harry Cramer, “with the exception of maternity, stress is the single biggest single reason for days taken off by members of staff”…

The data also reveals signification geographical variations.

“There are areas certainly more susceptible to stress-related absences. Teachers in the South East take an average of 29 days off when they take a stress-related absence. By contrast, [teachers in] the east of England take about 11 days off.”

According to the latest government statistics, one in 10 teachers left state-funded schools between November 2012 and November 2013…

Last year, almost 44,000 people – mainly teachers – responded to the government’s Workload Challenge survey after the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan expressed her concerns over excessive working hours…

But the Ms Keates says the DfE’s response to the Workload Challenge doesn’t go far enough: “The government isn’t listening at all”.

“How does professional development alleviate the stress of working 60 hours a week?

“The Workload Challenge was more smoke and mirrors rather than a serious attempt to tackle the enormous burdens teachers are facing…”

More at: Teacher stress levels in England ‘soaring’, data shows

 

File on 4 is available as a podcast podcast

 

I haven’t heard the programme yet but is there data in the programme to confirm the suggestion that the situation is getting significantly worse?  The report here – beyond the headline – doesn’t actually say anything about changes over time but it would be interesting to know if, for example, the insurance data is showing rising claims…

 

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link!

Today's poll: Baseline tests at age four - can they work?
Greater help for poorer pupils is widening school funding gap and being spent on non-teaching staff
Categories: Teaching.

Comments

  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Stress a major issue but DfE are sticking to “teaching is a popular career” line rather than tackling the issue. Negligent?

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Almost all the stress is created by govt policy whims and Ofsted pressure either directly or indirectly. Smell the coffee!

  3. Wouldn’t it be marvellous if our schools led the way on staff well-being – lots of evidence that those organisations who look people – in the case of schools staff and children’s well-being – often perform best. Is their a correlation between high performing schools (serving the young people and communities they serve well) and lower stress levels and visa versa?

  4. @andylutwyche SchoolsImprove School leadership and management makes a difference! However, stress is internal rather than caused by external factors – that’s why individuals experience stress in response to different things. It’s why we need to increase individuals’ personal capacity.

  5. @andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Agree – definitely needs to be tackled but isn’t that school’s responsibility? They are big organisations – some of our biggest employers.

  6. h_emoney

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove #Nicky’s response is No more constant curriculum changes. That is simply not good enough.

  7. h_emoney

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove #Nicky’s response is No more constant curriculum changes. That is simply not good enough.

  8. h_emoney

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove This is the play, election in 45days. Most teachers are not going to vote for us so why bother helping them.

  9. Janet2

    League table pressure, Ofsted inspections, carping by the media, simplistic (perhaps deliberately so) views re education (ie should solve all society’s ills and be damned if it doesn’t), constant changes at breakneck speed introduced by career-minded politicians trying to prove they’re ‘tough’, growing number of executive principals who do no actual teaching but bully staff to reach imposed targets – all these contribute to teacher stress.

    Scrap league tables; overhaul the inspectorate; reduce the thousands of powers accrued by the Secretary of State for Ed – above all, let teachers get on with their jobs.  That’s teaching children not chasing exam results.

  10. @andylutwyche SchoolsImprove This is correct.  Teachers have always worked hard.  The stress is about the unknown, pressure from above and feeling judged and unvalued.

  11. MrsBumbleBee

    The Department for Education insists it is working “to tackle the issue of unnecessary workload which we know can lead to stress”. It’s a good job that frontline staff (that’s teachers BTW) are more effective than the DFE then, because there has been no significant improvement made. Whatsoever. Luckily for the DFE it hasn’t been put into ‘category’, as it’s so daintily put. Nor is it likely to be. No accountability at the top for some reason, and no pressure to constantly improve. How odd. What a strange double standard.

  12. Nor_edu

    h_emoney andylutwyche SchoolsImprove more should be done to find out why higher in acads too. Diff between acad waves? Structural issues?

  13. JoetheBaron

    SchoolsImprove Much of it caused by inclusion and incompetent #SLT who refuse to deal with bad behaviour

  14. StaceyPearson11

    SchoolsImprove That’s because there is so much emphasis on data and league tables rather than the pupils themselves!

  15. Busy Mum

    maternity – single biggest reason for staff absence. My children get fed up with teachers going on maternity leave. They feel their right to continuity of education is just as important – and they have no choice about it, whilst the teacher does.

  16. Busy Mum

    maternity – single biggest reason for staff absence. My children get fed up with teachers going on maternity leave. They feel their right to continuity of education is just as important – and they have no choice about it, whilst the teacher does.

  17. Busy Mum

    maternity – single biggest reason for staff absence. My children get fed up with teachers going on maternity leave. They feel their right to continuity of education is just as important – and they have no choice about it, whilst the teacher does.

  18. MISA_Int

    SchoolsImprove Have you heard of the Massage in Schools Programme? It is very effective in combating stress in the classroom.

  19. andylutwyche

    h_emoney SchoolsImprove Agreed – an oppressive inspection system and league table based judgement needs looking at

  20. andylutwyche

    h_emoney SchoolsImprove Agreed – an oppressive inspection system and league table based judgement needs looking at

  21. Daveianporter1

    Primageographer SchoolsImprove take away the Gestapo -develop peer to peer self evaluation and accountability with HTs

Let us know what you think...