Quarter of teachers 'may quit, mainly due to workload'

Stress, anxiety and pressure are also cited by teachers who are thinking of leaving the profession in the next year

Charlotte Santry

High workload is forcing teachers out of the profession, research suggests

More than a quarter of teachers and school leaders are thinking of leaving the profession in the next 12 months – mainly due to high workloads, research published today suggests.

The findings were broadly similar between school leaders and classroom teachers and also between the primary and secondary sectors.

Overall, 26 per cent of respondents to a survey carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research said they were considering leaving the profession within the next 12 months.


Background: Teachers quit because they find workload ‘worse than expected’

Workload: At least 70% of teachers working over contracted hours

Pay: Science and MFL NQTs to get £9k to keep teaching


Meanwhile, 61 per cent were not considering leaving and 13 per cent did not know. 

Workload 'driving teachers away'

Asked what was the main reason for wanting to leave, more than half – 56 per cent – cited workload-related factors, while stress/anxiety/pressure was mentioned by 20 per cent. Retirement was the main reason for 15 per cent, while 11 per cent said accountability/results/expectations.

Behaviour was cited by 10 per cent, pay by 8 per cent, lack of support/poor leadership by 7 per cent and working conditions by 3 per cent.

Asked what they planned to do instead, nearly half of respondents were undecided. 

More than one in 10 school leaders and classroom teachers considering leaving indicated they planned to move to other jobs in the education sector.

Twelve per cent of school leaders considering leaving suggested they planned to move to jobs outside the education sector, but the corresponding figure for classroom teachers was higher, at 18 per cent.

 There was no particular pattern in the specific nature of jobs respondents planned to move to.

Less than one in three – 31 per cent – agreed with the statement that "the current pay framework supports teachers to progress their careers", while 43 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed. 

Responses suggested that the two most important factors in attracting teachers to the profession were the ability to work with young people and make a difference. These tended to be followed by career progression, holidays and pay. Pensions and hours were generally the lowest ranked of the suggested factors.  

The survey was sponsored by the Office of Manpower Economics (OME), which provides the secretariat to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB).

Responses were received from 1,570 practising teachers from 1,356 schools in the publicly funded sector in England. Teachers completed the survey online between 21 and 26 June 2019.

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Charlotte Santry

Charlotte Santry

Charlotte Santry is Deputy news editor at Tes

Find me on Twitter @CharlotteSantry

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