Nine out of 10 teachers have considered quitting the profession due to workload in the last two years, according to an NUT survey.
The findings, released ahead of education secretary Nicky Morgan’s speech to the Conservative party conference today, make for “utterly depressing reading”, according to general secretary Christine Blower.
More than a third of respondents said they think about leaving teaching “fairly constantly”, with a further 46 per cent admitting that they consider it “from time to time”.
One in ten respondents said they were actively seeking other jobs.
High workload affects many aspects of teachers’ lives, the survey results suggest. A massive 96 per cent of respondents said the issue has a negative impact on their personal or family life, 81 per cent said they have no time for exercise or physical activity and 59 per cent said the job causes stress in their relationship.
According to 80 per cent of the 16,000 teachers surveyed, marking is the main reason for excessive workloads, ahead of data entry (70 per cent) and preparation for Ofsted and practice inspections (62 per cent).
“I am fed up of seeing my colleagues near to breaking point," said one primary teacher in Trafford. "There isn’t a week that goes by where I don’t see someone crying. This has to stop.”
Ms Blower said the findings were a “clear justification” for the union’s ongoing campaign of industrial action. It is currently consulting members on whether it should consider taking up to two days of strike action in the run-up to the general election.
“Anyone concerned about the education of our children will be alarmed at the low levels of morale and exhaustion within the profession,” Ms Blower said. “Nicky Morgan needs to address this in her speech today and in her talks with teacher unions tomorrow.
“Much of the workload is completely unnecessary and is a result of accountability measures. It is driven from the top, from the way politicians and Ofsted run down teachers.”
Teachers’ workload is expected to feature in Ms Morgan’s speech today in Birmingham. In August, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg told TES he was also “increasingly concerned" about rising workload pressures for teachers.
In a separate development, the NASUWT union this morning announced that members at two schools in the North West of England – Nugent House School near Wigan and St Catherine’s Secure Centre in St Helens – will tomorrow hold the first of six days of strike action planned for the coming weeks. They are opposing their employer's attempts to impose changes to the sick pay scheme.
Strikes: schools could face two more days of national action - September 2014