Three quarters of North West’s teachers suffering from work stress | Education Support

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Teacher stress

Three quarters of North West’s teachers suffering from work stress

13th February 2020

Research by the charity Education Support in partnership with YouGov has revealed that 75 per cent of the region’s teachers describe themselves as stressed because of their jobs.1

Half (55 per cent) said they had experienced insomnia/difficulty sleeping in the past year and 50 per cent had difficulties concentrating.  

The findings reflect current nationwide pressures in education. According to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive, teaching staff and education professionals report the highest rates of work-related stress, depression and anxiety in Britain.2

At the same time half (57 per cent) of schoolteachers in the region have considered leaving the sector in the last two years because of pressures on their health and wellbeing.

Key contributory factors for those in the North West included volume of workload (79 per cent) and seeking a better work-life balance (74 per cent).  Asked about other factors negatively influencing work-life balance:

  • 72 per cent have an inability to switch off and relax
  • 63 per cent are not finding time to be with family and friends
  • 63 per cent say they work during holidays 
  • 61 per cent say working over the weekend also contributes to a negative work-life balance

Despite better understanding of the need to protect our mental health and wellbeing, half (50 per cent) of teachers surveyed in the region said the culture of their organisation negatively affects that of staff. 44 per cent said they did not think that their school or college supported employees experiencing problems with their mental health or wellbeing well and 65 per cent said they would not feel confident disclosing unmanageable stress or mental health problems to an employer.

Commenting on the findings, Sinéad Mc Brearty, CEO of Education Support, said:

“Teacher retention is falling and annual recruitment levels continue to be missed. Despite some examples of good practice where our schools are getting it right, stress and poor working conditions are consistently highlighted as issues for many wanting to leave the sector.

“Whilst some of our school leaders are routinely demonstrating care for their staff, there are also those who accept poor staff well-being in return for short-term results.

“Our teachers in the North West should be able to feel respected, supported and resilient in their work.  We must address the high levels of stress in our schools and colleges and create a safe and confident culture where teachers can talk about their mental health and wellbeing.

“Teaching professionals are among our most valuable assets. It is time to take meaningful action to look after the people who look after our children and young people.”

Education Support supports the mental health and wellbeing of the entire education workforce throughout the UK by:

  • providing a free, confidential Helpline (08000 562 561) run by trained counsellors available to all to talk about issues education staff don’t feel comfortable speaking to others about
  • offering financial support for those in the education sector who need it the most
  • delivering a range of support and development services for education staff and organisations
  • conducting research to increase understanding about the pressures faced by educators

Ends

NOTES TO EDITORS

Our CEO Sinéad Mc Brearty is available for interview on request.

Education Support is the only UK charity dedicated to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of education staff in schools, colleges and universities.

Our free and confidential helpline is available 24/7 to everyone working in education and is available UK wide on 08000 562 561.

1. The research was conducted using an online survey of education professionals drawn from YouGov’s panel. The total sample size was 367 education professionals in the North West and the survey was conducted during the period 25 June to 29 July 2019. The sample included all job roles within the education profession from senior leaders through to support staff working in the early years, Primary, Secondary, Further, Adult and Vocational education sectors.

2. At a rate of 2,100 cases per 100,000 professionals compared with 1,320 cases for all occupational groups (‘Work related stress, depression or anxiety’ in Great Britain’, Health and Safety Executive, 2018; www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/