Exclusive: Teachers' lockdown stress 'is unsustainable'

More than half of teachers believe that plans for reopening schools have not been shared 'effectively', a Tes poll shows

Catherine Lough

Coronavirus: Teachers have warned that the stress they have faced in lockdown, after the closure of schools, is not sustainable

More than a third of teachers report that their stress levels have not been sustainable during school closures caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Of 2,817 UK teachers surveyed by Tes, 37 per cent reported that they either disagreed or disagreed strongly that their stress levels were sustainable during Covid-19 school closures.

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The figure was worse still when all 4,123 survey respondents worldwide were included, with a total of 38 per cent of teachers saying their stress levels had not been sustainable during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Coronavirus: Teachers suffering stress in lockdown

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union, said that a combination of high workload and seeing the realities of pupils' lives had contributed to teachers' stress levels.

"Many teachers, as reported to us, were doing double the work, teaching at school and then preparing online lessons and resources," she said.

She said teachers had also been affected by "the distress they experienced as they saw the terrible circumstances in which so many of their pupils live, because that became even more apparent to them".

"What became very clear in those conversations was the radical inequality in our society and the fact so many children and young people lead such strained and such disruptive lives," she said.

The Tes survey also reveals that most UK teachers felt that plans for schools reopening had not been shared effectively with staff. In total, 53 per cent of UK teachers said plans had not been shared effectively with them, with just 24 per cent stating that they had. 

Dr Bousted added that she thought school leaders had tried hard to keep in touch with staff, and that teachers feeling uncertainty over schools reopening could be attributed to delays in government announcements over when and how schools would go back. 

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “From this week, many schools have begun welcoming children from Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 back to the classroom as part of a phased and cautious approach.  

“To prepare for this, headteachers and school staff have been doing an excellent job, including putting protective measures in place and engaging with parents and children. We will continue to support schools who haven’t yet been able to open more widely to do so as soon as possible.”


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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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