53% of teachers say they're not listened to at work

Exclusive: A Tes survey of more than 6,000 teachers reveals a snapshot of problems facing the profession, including teachers being overlooked and overworked

Tes survey - workload

More than half of teachers say they have no voice in how things go at their school, while more than a third say they are not valued at work.

That's according to a survey carried out by Tes, which reveals a snapshot of problems facing the teaching profession today.

The survey, which collected responses from more than 6,000 teachers, found that just 20 per cent believe their workload is manageable, while only 33 per cent say they feel supported at work and only 31 per cent agree that they have enough resources to do their job.


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Yet despite this, the research also shows high levels of camaraderie between teachers, soaring teacher confidence and good levels of rapport with pupils.

The results showed:

  • Only 6 per cent of teachers "strongly agreed" and only 15 per cent "agreed"  that their workload was "manageable"  while 23 per cent had no view and 57 per cent either "disagreed" or "disagreed strongly".

  • Just 29 per cent of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that the leadership team in their school made good decisions while 28 per cent had no view and 43 per cent either disagreed or strongly disagreed.

  • Only 35 per cent agreed or strongly agreed they felt valued at work, while 26 per cent had no view and 39 per cent either disagreed or strongly disagreed.

  • Just 23 per cent agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: “I have a voice in how things go at my school” while a similar amount had no view, but 53 per cent either disagreed or strongly disagreed.

Kevin Courtney, joint-general secretary of the NEU teaching union, said: "Workload and excessive accountability measures are impacting on teacher morale as is the lack of respect and autonomy for the professional and vital work they do.

"The government needs to acknowledge that without fundamental change to teachers' working lives, this unsatisfactory situation will continue."

Results also found that:

  • Only 27 per cent of teachers agreed or strongly agreed they had autonomy to make decisions in their school, while 29 per cent had no view and the remaining 44 per cent either disagreed or strongly disagreed.

  • Only 25 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that information “is shared effectively between staff at my school,” while 17 per cent had no view and the rest either disagreed or strongly disagreed.

  • Only 33 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that they “feel supported at work” while a quarter had no view, and 47 per cent either disagreed or strongly disagreed

  • 31 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that “I have enough resources to do my job,” 25 per cent had no view and the rest either disagreed or strongly disagreed.

Sinéad Mc Brearty, CEO at Education Support Partnership, a national charity which helps teachers with mental health issues, called for "greater support, development and wider policy change” to help ensure school leaders were better resourced to support school staff.

She said: “It’s crucial that staff voice is included in decision-making processes. Without meaningful involvement, staff can feel under-valued and de-professionalised. Regular reviews of staff satisfaction and wellbeing can provide an important route to maintaining effective communication channels between staff and leadership."

The respondents were all Tes readers who were contacted via the tes.com website. Around a fifth of respondents were from outside the UK, from countries as far afield as China, South Africa, Spain and India.  

The survey, carried out in March, was backed up by a smaller survey of around 1,500 respondents in July which gave similar results. It was undertaken in conjunction with the launch of Staff Pulse, a Tes staff engagement product through which teachers can give anonymous feedback to their senior leadership team about support they need.

The results follows UCL research, launched earlier this week, which shows a quarter of teachers work a 60-hour week.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We have been making concerted efforts to reduce teacher workload driven by unnecessary tasks - 94 per cent of surveyed school leaders report they have taken action to reduce workload related to marking and more than 75 per cent say they have addressed planning workload.

“We will continue our work with the sector to drive down on these burdensome tasks outside the classroom so that teachers are free to do what they do best – teach.”

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