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College bosses' 'unreasonable' demands cause stress

Survey finds two-thirds of college staff are stressed in their jobs – a total higher than in schools


Survey finds two-thirds of college staff are stressed in their jobs – a total higher than in schools

The threat of redundancy from college restructuring and mergers is damaging the mental health of staff, an education charity has found.

A survey carried out by teacher-wellbeing charity the Education Support Partnership shows that almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of staff in FE colleges feel stressed at work. Of those who have experienced a work-related mental health issue, 37 per cent blame college restructuring and the threat of redundancy.

Of the sample of 345 FE staff, 45 per cent attribute their symptoms to "unreasonable" demands from their managers; this compares with 39 per cent in the schools sector.

More than half (57 per cent) of college staff say their employer does not adequately support employees who experience problems with their mental health.

Emotional-support helpline

Julian Stanley, chief executive of the Education Support Partnership, said: “The findings highlight some of the specific issues that contribute to poor staff wellbeing and mental health within FE. These align with the concerns we hear daily through our emotional-support helpline and also [from] working directly within institutions.

“It is crucial that we continue to grow understanding of the unique pressures at a structural, environmental and individual level within FE, and deliver a range of practical solutions that address the issues identified.”

The findings come amid calls for regulator Ofsted to make mental health and wellbeing part of its inspection framework.

In an open letter to chief inspector Amanda Spielman, the youth mental health charity YoungMinds said that integrating mental health into ratings criteria would incentivise colleges and schools to tackle the “crisis in our classrooms”.

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