Teacher wellbeing: help & support | Education Support
Coronavirus update: We continue to be here to provide mental health and wellbeing support to all education staff.

Teacher wellbeing: help & support

We are now seeing the impact of this perfect storm on many teacher’s mental health and wellbeing. This is a far-reaching crisis which needs comprehensive action.

Every day we support education professionals who are suffering the consequences of many factors causing severe pressure: budget cuts; fewer staff, bigger class sizes and localised recruitment and retention difficulties in some areas are adding to workload and increasing stress levels. Outside school, many are suffering financially.

According to our latest research, 75% of all education staff have faced physical or mental wellbeing issues in the last two years because of their work and 53% have considered leaving as a result.

  • Almost one in five (19%) said they had experienced panic attacks
  • Over half (56%) had suffered from insomnia and difficulties sleeping
  • Over a third (41%) had experienced difficulty concentrating

Workload and work-life balance were cited as the top work-related reasons. Symptoms and issues suffered appearing similar across roles and levels of seniority.

Victoria, a head of department in a secondary school was on the verge of leaving the profession when she spoke to our specialist helpline:

“The workload was relentless and despite asking for support to look at where I could cut it down, I received no guidance. I became exhausted and as a result broke down in front of my class.”

Of those who said they had experienced mental health problems:

  • Nearly half (47%) said their personal relationships had suffered
  • Over a quarter (28%) said they had been forced to take time off work
  • Of these, half (52%) had been off for more than a month during the academic year

In the current educational environment, where schools are trying to increase student attainment with a diminishing budget, teacher wellbeing may be overlooked as a ‘nice to have’ rather than as essential. But from a schools perspective, wellbeing is an important factor in quality, performance and productivity.

The education sector are currently facing a recruitment and retention crisis. Wellbeing is strongly related to work stress, a key player in employee absence. Demotivated staff are often disengaged, do not enjoy their jobs and eventually leave.

A recent survey by The Guardian newspaper found that teachers regularly work 60 hour weeks. Many teachers’ work-life balance is non-existent, their relationships outside of work are suffering, and their passion for the profession is waning. It’s therefore never been more important to focus on and ensure the wellbeing of teaching staff.

As well as greater staff retention levels, less sick leave, and lower supply teacher costs, research has shown that a teacher’s happiness levels has a knock on effect for students.

A teacher with low health and wellbeing may lack the energy required to deliver a lesson which effectively pushes children to succeed. A teacher who is ill but at work may find it more difficult to manage poor pupil behaviour, leading to higher levels of disruption for the rest of the class. Additionally, a teacher who is struggling to cope with stress is more likely to be absent from work.

A teacher with high job satisfaction, positive morale and who is healthy should be more likely to teach lessons which are creative, challenging and effective, leading to students doing better in exams.

Read and share the Teacher Wellbeing Manifesto.

If you need help, our free telephone support and counselling from trained experts is here for you day or night, 24/7, 365 days a year.

How we can help

  • Help for teaching and support staff  
    Sometimes work (or just life) can be tough. A challenging student, an Ofsted inspection, personal financial worries; there are many stresses on those who work in education. That’s why we offer free, confidential help and support, no matter what your problem.
  • Help for organisations 
    Working in education is demanding so we’ve designed a set of services to help you check how your teams are coping, troubleshoot problems and boost everyone’s wellbeing.