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Workload tops list of primary concerns

THE majority of UK primary school teachers are dogged by worries about their jobs, with heavy workloads, low salaries, and poor teaching conditions topping the list of concerns.

Drug and alcohol problems provide the least cause for concern, preoccupying just 4 per cent of teachers, while only 11 per cent of those surveyed worry about being a good teacher - all of them women.

According to the survey carried out by information technology specialists, RM, 87 per cent of teachers were concerned about issues connected with their job. In all, 60 per cent said they were worried by their workloads.

Other major areas of concern were: salary (45 per cent), poor teaching conditions (43 per cent), pupils' test performance (41 per cent), and poor teaching facilities (37 per cent).

Next in line came concern for their own career prospects, a factor reported by 35 per cent of teachers. Fear of aggressive pupils also plagued 23 per cent of teachers, while anxieties about classroom bullying and unruly classes came close behind.

The survey, entitled Worried Primary School Teachers: The Facts canvassed 150 teachers from across the UK, with the interviewees equally divided between men and women.

John Bangs, the National Union of Teachers' head of education, said the survey results highlighted teachers' mounting worries about poor working environments.

"What is new is the issue of poor teaching conditions. The allocation of high-quality equipment can be uneven and erratic. Teachers are also annoyed about not having their own dedicated working space, and about having to fight for the telephone in the staffroom.

"The other thing that comes over strongly is how consistently excessive workload comes up as a concern and is untouched by recent government campaigns and initiatives," he added.

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