Teachers are "physically exhausted and mentally broken" by an unmanageable workload, imposed in part by a "nonsensical" inspection framework, according to the joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union.
Speaking at the Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET) conference in Stratford-upon-Avon this morning, Mary Bousted said "the single most important thing we have to do to reinvigorate teaching is to reduce workload" – which would involve the abolition of both Ofsted and school league tables, and a "radical change" of the assessment system.
Workload: 'Bureaucracy is ruining teachers' lives'
She said a focus on accountability had led to a "huge intensification of pointless work in the profession" – with teachers "terrorised" and "frightened" by the prospect of inspections.
Criticising the new Ofsted framework, along with its past iterations, Ms Bousted said: “Teaching and learning is far too complex to measure in this way.
“Professionalism does not thrive in a climate of fear. It is not intellectually attractive work; it is exhausting. And exhausted and defeated, unable to fulfil the ethical impulse that drove them to the profession, many teachers are leaving.
“We need radical reform. If we don’t get radical reform, we will continue to lose our teachers.”
When asked about teachers teaming up to share ideas outside of work, Ms Bousted added: “Why do we require our teachers to be martyrs to their profession?
“Teachers need a home life; they need to be able to see their family; they need to be able to talk to their children; they need to be able to see their friends; they need to be able to have coffees; they need to be able to keep fit. And I see too many teachers who are physically exhausted and mentally broken.
“We have to take much better care of our teachers.”
Ofsted has been approached for comment.