Three-quarters of teachers stressed out, study finds


Almost three-quarters of school teachers say they are stressed out, while more than half considered leaving the sector because of mental health and wellbeing pressures.

The annual Teacher Wellbeing Index found that over a third of education professionals (34 per cent) experienced a mental health issue in the last academic year, up from 31 per cent the year before.

Meanwhile 78 per cent experienced behavioural, psychological or physical symptoms due to their work, up from 76 per cent in 2018, the study found.

Seventy-three per cent of school teachers reported being stressed this year, up from 64 per cent last year and 67 per cent in 2017. Senior leaders reporting the highest levels of stress, up to 84 per cent compared to 80 per cent in 2018 and 75 per cent in 2017.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said the “enormous of privilege of helping young people learn and grow can be outweighed by the pressure and workload of the profession”.

“Ultimately it is very simple: pay people properly and treat them well.”

In May, counsellors at the Education Support Partnership reported a 28 per cent rise in education staff calling their emotional support helpline in just one year, with 9,615 calls.

In July, Ofsted’s teacher wellbeing survey warned that, although teachers love their profession, the positive factors are overwhelmed by high workloads, poor work-life balance, lack of resources and too little support from leaders.

An advisory group tasked with improving the mental health and wellbeing of teachers met for the first time in July, and will make recommendations to the Department for Education next year.

The Teacher Wellbeing Index surveyed over 3,000 education professions across all areas of the sector – including schools, early years and further education – and was carried out by the charity Education Support in partnership with YouGov.

It found that 57 per cent of education professionals have considered leaving the sector in the last two years due to health and wellbeing pressures, with workload (71 per cent) and not feeling valued (65 per cent) cited as the two main reasons.

In 2019, 44 per cent of teachers experienced tearfulness (up 15 percentage points from 29 per cent last year), 42 per cent had difficulty concentrating (also up 15 percentage points from 27 per cent) and 52 per cent had insomnia or difficulty sleeping (up 14 percentage points from 38 per cent).

Almost half (49 per cent) said their workplace culture had a negative impact on their health and wellbeing. Just 41 per cent said their workplace supported staff with mental health problems well, and 39 per cent said they would not talk to anyone at work about mental health issues.


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  1. sally nunwick

    These surveys have been saying [large] % are ‘considering leaving the profession’ for years – I have been teaching for 28 years! Not useful statistics. It would be interesting to have some actual data that showed how many actually do… I am sick of the negativity around our lot in life. I am a Mum – I was a single Mum for the first 6 years of my daughter life and what a privilege to be able to have 13 weeks school holidays off with her! Our job is no harder or more stressful than any other. We are our own worst enemy. Yes we work hard, yes we work long hours during the term time weeks, but I wouldn’t want to be in an office 40 hours a week with 4 paid week’s leave either!