Significant signs of burnout amongst teachers

In response to a YouGov TeacherTrack survey of over a thousand teaching staff commissioned by the mental health and wellbeing charity, one in two (50%) reported having suffered at least one characteristic associated with work-related burnout ‘all the time’ since the beginning of this school year.

News 29 April 2021 / 4 mins read

43%

teachers say they have experienced all components associated with burnout since September, according to analysis of the latest polling for Education Support.2

9%

responded that they felt a lack of energy or exhaustion in relation to their job ‘some or all of the time’ (29% ‘all of the time.’)

80%

felt negativity or cynicism related to the teaching profession ‘some or all of the time’ (31% all the time.)

73%

said that they felt reduced professional efficacy (or ability to perform their job as expected) ‘some or all of the time’ (14% all the time)

59%

said that they felt mentally distanced from their job ‘some or all of the time’ (10% ‘all of the time’.)

The findings were broadly consistent across primary and secondary schools, teachers and senior leaders.

"I’ve been teaching for five years and am incredibly passionate about what I do. However, my mental health has really suffered in the past year to the point of burning myself out and having to take a month off sick when I hit crisis point. I was working myself into the ground and not prioritising my wellbeing. Support and medication have helped me through."
Ruth, year 2 primary school teacher

Sinéad Mc Brearty, CEO of Education Support commented: 

"Thousands of teachers up and down the country are exhausted.  School and college staff have worked around the clock to configure remote learning, support the social and emotional needs of pupils and to cover significant amounts of staff absence due to Covid. School and college staff continue to roll their sleeves up. They want to do their best for children and young people. But it an unavoidable fact that over time, prolonged stress, anxiety and fatigue can lead to burnout. 

"This is now becoming more and more true in our classrooms.  We need to recognise this reality and properly resource schools and colleges to do what is being asked of them.

"This is not about being soft and fluffy; it’s about ensuring that the education workforce is properly equipped and supported to do their best work."
Sinéad Mc Brearty, CEO of Education Support

Note to editors

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. Maslach, C. and Jackson, S.E., 1981. The measurement of experienced burnout. Journal of organizational behavior, 2(2), pp.99-113.

2. YouGov/TeacherTrack survey. The total sample size was 1,059 teaching professionals and fieldwork was undertaken between 25/02/2021 - 16/03/2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of teaching professionals by phase, region, age and gender

3. As above. Findings taken from the same YouGov/TeacherTrack survey.