Nearly half of teachers considered quitting this year

And eight out of 10 teachers describe themselves as stressed from working during the pandemic, poll shows

Catherine Lough

Covid: Nearly half of teachers have considered leaving this year, according to new research revealing the impact of the pandemic on teacher wellbeing and mental health

Nearly half of teachers have said they have considered leaving the profession during this academic year, while eight out of 10 report that they are stressed from work.

In response to a YouGov and TeacherTrack survey of over 1,000 teaching professionals, nearly half – 46 per cent – reported that pressures on their mental health and wellbeing had led them to consider leaving the profession during this school year.

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In the poll, carried out for teacher wellbeing charity Education Support, eight in 10 – 82 per cent – of teachers described themselves as stressed from working.

Asked the open question, "How do you feel your pupils/students react to you being stressed?", one secondary school teacher responded by saying: “Stressed teachers makes stressed students. The atmosphere in lessons can become negative and it impacts on teacher/ pupil relationships.”

Covid: Stress among teachers 'is too high'

A secondary deputy headteacher said of her students: “I avoid letting them see. Teachers need to be calm and confident so can’t show stress.

"No matter how uncertain the government’s direction, we have to portray utter confidence to help our students.”

The survey, carried out as school sites began to fully reopen, showed that teachers felt that the mental health of their pupils had declined during the third national lockdown.

In total, 81 per cent felt their pupils’ mental health and wellbeing had declined during the current lockdown and 67 per cent felt their own mental health had worsened during the same period.

However, 71 per cent reported that their school had supported students' mental health and wellbeing well during the third lockdown.

Sinéad Mc Brearty, chief executive of Education Support, said that "while this is heartening, stress among teachers remains too high."

“This is concerning for the education workforce and concerning for pupils.

"Good levels of personal wellbeing and feeling secure are essential for education, as they put pupils in the right frame of mind to learn. The wellbeing of teachers has direct impact on the wellbeing of schoolchildren and their readiness to learn."

Referring to the charity's report last year Covid in the Classroom’, Ms Mc Brearty said just 15 per cent of teachers said they felt valued by the UK government before this academic year had even begun.

 “It is unrealistic to expect teachers to keep this up and just ‘soldier on’ without adequate support," she added.

"We risk a rise in burnout, and a mass exodus from the profession when we need talented teachers and school leaders most.

"The mental health and wellbeing of our teachers and school leaders must be properly acknowledged and supported if we want to retain a high-performing, mentally healthy workforce.”

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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