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Survey reveals teachers are overworked, worried about their wellbeing, and blame ministers for not listening to them

The devastating findings come from the NEU State of Education survey of more than 10,000 teaching staff, conducted last month

by Matt Trinder

Industrial reporter

THE vast majority of teachers are overworked, worried about their wellbeing and blame the government for failing to listen to them, latest industry research reveals today.

The devastating findings, published to coincide with the National Education Union’s (NEU) annual conference held online this week, come from the union’s State of Education survey of more than 10,000 teaching staff, conducted last month.

Seven in 10 teachers, leaders and support workers warned that workload has increased over the past year, with almost all respondents — 95 per cent — worried about the impact on their wellbeing.

Two-thirds said that the status of the profession has worsened, with the government blamed for failing to listen to or value staff.

Alarmingly, 35 per cent of respondents said they would “definitely” no longer be working in education in five years’ time.

Teachers have also blasted government inaction on alleviating child poverty and closing the “digital divide,” exposed by an increase in remote learning, in further surveys published yesterday.

Commenting on the data, NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said it should come as “no surprise” that so many are thinking of leaving teaching.

“These findings come after a year in which the education profession has been afforded few safety protections, has had to improvise solutions where government had simply left a void, and has been awarded a pay freeze for their troubles,” he said.  

“To create an environment in which so many are overworked and looking for an exit, it is a scandal that so little effort has been made by government to value the profession.

“Instead, they feel insulted, and for many there comes a point where enough is enough.”

He said teaching was a “fantastic” job and everything should be done to retain those who saw it as a vocation for life, but the “perennial issue” of workload was driving people away.  

“The solutions are perfectly clear to anyone willing to listen. It is the ‘dead hand’ of Whitehall, Ofsted and an obsession with ‘data, data, data’ that is getting in the way of a fulfilling working life for too many education professionals,” he warned.

“Our survey shows it — the government knows it.”

The Department for Education has been contacted for comment. 


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