Job stress higher for teachers than other professions

One in five teachers feel tense about their job some or all of the time

The NFER report says that job stress is higher for teachers than other profession.

More teachers feel “tense” or “worried” about their job than those working in comparable professions, according to a new report.

The National Foundation for Educational Research said that 20 per cent of teachers feel tense about their job most or all of the time, compared to 13 per cent of similar professionals.

The findings are contained in the research body’s first annual report on the teacher labour market in England.


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The report says that growing pupil numbers, shortages in the number of trainee teachers and a rising proportion of teachers leaving the profession mean that “urgent action” is needed to ensure a sufficient supply of teachers.

In particular, it highlights “acute challenges” in the recruitment and retention of teachers in long-standing shortage subjects such as physics, maths, modern foreign languages and chemistry.

It also warns that teaching’s traditional “recession-proof” advantage over other professions has “eroded” over time because of a relatively strong graduate labour market.

While the proportion of teachers reporting low job security has remained very low at around 5 per cent and stable since 2010-11, the level of reported insecurity has decreased among similar professionals, falling from 14 per cent in 2010-11 to 9 per cent in 2017-18.

“The job security of alternative careers is likely to influence those who are deciding whether or not to enter teaching,” the report states.

Jack Worth, the report's co-author, welcomed the government’s recent recruitment and retention strategy, but he said further action was needed.

“England’s schools are facing significant challenges in recruiting and retaining sufficient numbers of teachers,” he said.

“Nurturing, supporting and valuing teachers is vital to making teaching an attractive and rewarding career choice.

"In order to do this, there is a clear need to improve the working conditions of teachers, with a focus on making the teaching career more manageable and sustainable.”

Mary Bousted, the joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union, said the report echoed its “long-standing concerns”.

“The reasons that so many leave the profession so quickly are not a mystery to us," she said.

"When faced with impossible workloads, endless accountability, a testing culture run riot, and flat or underfunded pay deals year after year, it is all too common for good teachers to leave the profession.”

The DfE has been contacted for comment.

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