A recent poll run by the National Education Union has uncovered that 1 in every 3 teachers in the UK plans to quit the profession within the next five years.
It’s likely of little surprise to many, with the survey – conducted in April 2021 – coming after over a year’s worth of disruption to the UK’s education system caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with challenges including safety at work and the constant switching between in-person and online lessons damaging to teachers’ wellbeing.
From the 10,000 teachers from England, Wales and Northern Ireland who participated in the poll, it was clear how exhausted the majority currently feels toward teaching with the stats speaking loudly as to the intentions of many:
- 35% stated they would “definitely not” be working within the profession by 2026
- 66% agreed the status of the profession had diminished and blamed the government for failing to listen to their ongoing issues
- 70% blamed an increased workload as a major reason to leave
- 55% feel their work-life balance has become worse since before the pandemic began
After what has been a tough few months for everyone – teachers being no exception – unions have now called for a 7% increase to their salaries with the hope this will support many toward rethinking their plans to leave a sector already under pressure thanks to outdated testing systems and funding cuts.
Yet with 95% of respondents admitting they have concerns for their wellbeing, it is likely an increase to their pay alone is insufficient in turning the tide.
Mel Stead, Managing Director of Optimal says “During the pandemic, schools and academies had to adapt very quickly to delivering both classroom based teaching for keyworker and vulnerable children, as well as remote learning for all other students, this was on top of trying to manage their own caring responsibilities and other family commitments. Employees are exhausted and their mental health has suffered as a result of this. The introduction of our well-being reviews has been a huge success in some schools and academies and it has enabled us to signpost individuals to organisations who can provide appropriate support swiftly and prevent more serious long term issues. We cannot afford to lose such talent from this sector.”
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