Fears pandemic workload means teacher anxiety and panic

NASUWT delegates to debate mental health problems being 'exacerbated' by 'unmanageable workloads' during the Covid crisis

Amy Gibbons


An "increase in expectations" of teachers during the pandemic risks sparking "anxiety, depression and panic attacks", a conference will hear this weekend.

The welfare concerns will be raised in a motion on the "impact of Covid-19 on teacher and pupil mental health", to be debated at the annual conference of the NASUWT teachers' union on Saturday.

The motion warns that poor mental health among teachers has been "exacerbated" by "unmanageable workloads" during the Covid crisis.

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It calls on the union's national executive to create a "wellbeing and mental health toolkit" for teachers, and survey members on their welfare.

"Conference is concerned about issues of poor teacher mental health, which have been exacerbated by unmanageable workloads and adverse management practices during the Covid-19 pandemic," the motion states.

"Conference is alarmed by the increase in expectations placed on many teachers, which could cause anxiety, depression and panic attacks."

The news follows a warning from NASUWT leader Patrick Roach that teachers are at risk of burnout and their morale could "completely drop through the floor" if schools place too much pressure on them in terms of catch-up provision.

Speaking to Tes ahead of this weekend's conference, Dr Roach said teachers were not only "double-jobbing", in teaching pupils both in class and remotely, but that they were also having to "grapple" with issues such as safe working and the demands of late announcements in relation to qualifications and assessments.

The Department for Education said, in response to Dr Roach's comments: "The pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to all areas of life but we have acted swiftly at every turn to help minimise the impact on pupils' education, and provide extensive support for schools, their teachers and staff.

"We have invested over £2 billion into ambitious catch-up plans and schemes to provide pupils with devices for remote education – with funding targeted at disadvantaged children and young people who need support the most.

"Our Wellbeing for Education Return programme is supporting staff in schools and colleges to respond to any wellbeing issues they or their colleagues may be experiencing."

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Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

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