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Happy and you know it? Tick the box

More than nine out of 10 headteachers believe they work in a happy school - but try telling that to their staff. By contrast, only 70 per cent of primary teachers and 57 per cent of secondary believe they work in a happy environment.

Most classroom teachers say they are happy people and two out of three are happier than they were 10 years ago, according to a TES online survey.

The survey is backed by analysis by Kirkland-Rowell, the school self-evaluation consultancy. It found that 62 per cent of teachers felt satisfied in their job, and 78 per cent felt well-supported by their colleagues. As they say, if you're happy and you know it, tick the box.

But they were less happy with the jobs done by their headteachers.

Two-thirds believed in the head's vision for the school, but only half believed their contribution was appreciated or that the school developed staff self-esteem.

Professor Richard Layard, of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, said: "If the ultimate test of a society is how happy its people are, an important role of schools is to help young people discover the secret of how to lead happy lives. And they're unlikely to succeed in that if their teachers aren't happy."

Martin Ward, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the findings highlighted an "inevitable gap" between teachers' and heads' perceptions of their schools - largely because heads took personal responsibility for their schools' performance.

Overall, the findings showed that a reduction in teachers' workloads was improving their job satisfaction and happiness, he said.

John Bangs, head of education for the National Union of Teachers, said:

"Despite everything the Government has chucked at them, there has been a genuine consolidation of professionalism and self-confidence, which is a tribute to teachers."

TES magazine, page 10 Leader, page 22

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