Half of young teachers planning to leave within 5 years
Poor management and unreasonable demands from school leaders have prompted around half of young teachers to consider leaving the profession, a survey by the National Union Teachers has found.
Of more than 3,000 teachers aged 35 and under who responded to the union’s survey, just 55 per cent said they planned to stay in the profession for more than five years.
Among those who considered leaving, 47.5 per cent blamed poor management and 52.4 per cent cited unreasonable demands.
You’re constantly entering data and reports, and it just becomes very bureaucratic, and it’s not about learning any longer
Other reasons included volume of work (84.7 per cent) and constant change due to government initiatives (65.5 per cent).
Mental health concerns were raise by 45.2 per cent of respondents.
The survey raises questions about the amount of work teachers are expected to complete with almost three quarters (23.6 per cent) claiming they work more than 60 hours a week.
Commissioned by the union’s young teachers working group, the survey found that 85 per cent were finding it difficult to keep a “reasonable work-life balance”.
Henry Emoni, a maths teacher at a secondary academy in Essex, said it was “disheartening” to see how frequently his colleagues left the profession.
“Teaching has always been a profession where you have to work extra hours, we understand that, and if you’re putting those hours in for the kids, then that’s great.
“But you find that most of the time those are hours you put in for admin tasks, meetings upon meetings, you’re putting together evidence to prove that you’ve done something, that you’ve achieved something.
“You’re constantly entering data and reports, and it just becomes very bureaucratic, and it’s not about learning any longer.”
Laura Chisholm, a science teacher at a maintained secondary school in Portsmouth, said a friend, whose “life ambition” was to be a teacher, left after two years due to mental health problems.
Last year the government accepted “in full” recommendations made by three independent expert groups on the issue of teacher workload.
Ideas included Ofsted being clearer on what inspectors look for in marking, and reducing requirements for the repeated collection of data.
Kevin Courtney, the NUT’s general secretary, also said his union encouraged young teachers to “know their rights and to be confident to say that a 50-hour working week is not acceptable”.
In a statement, the government claimed that teaching “remains an attractive profession”, but said it wanted young teachers to “have the freedom to do what they do best – inspire children to learn”.
“We continue to work with teachers, unions and Ofsted to tackle unnecessary workload and challenge unhelpful practices that create extra work, including through an offer of targeted support to schools. Alongside this we are exploring ways to improve career progression for teachers to encourage them to stay in the profession.”