Nearly Half Of Teachers In England Are Planning To Quit Within Five Years | TOTUM
Ben HaywardApril 10th
2022

A worrying poll has revealed that nearly half of teachers in England are planning to quit the profession within the next five years.

The data was published by the National Education Union (NEU), showing that 44% of teachers plan to leave by 2027 after 1,788 people took part in the survey, with a fifth (22%) saying they would leave within two years.

Heavy workload was cited as a significant factor in the decision, with more than half of respondents (52%) saying their workload was ‘unmanageable’ or ‘unmanageable most of the time’, up from 35% in 2021, reports the Guardian

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For those teachers who plan to leave within two years, workload was the key factor for 65% of respondents, with worries over the level of trust in teachers from the public and government also contributing significantly. 

Pay and accountability were also given as reasons for leaving, with one respondent writing: “I am desperate to get out of education due to workload, constant monitoring and paperwork.”

They also revealed that schools are finding it difficult to fill vacancies - meaning many have been made to ‘double up’ on roles, with a huge 73% saying the problem had worsened since the pandemic hit. “People leave and then their responsibilities [are] added to another role,” one person wrote.

Others described how, as budgets have been cut, teachers her been given increased responsibilities but no extra time. “We have increased leadership responsibilities but our time to carry this out has been axed,” one person commented. “Classes are covered by teaching assistants on a regular basis, as if this is perfectly satisfactory.”

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Of those who had thought about stress at work, two-thirds reported they were stressed at least 60% of the time, with issues such as ‘burnout’ also mentioned. 

Dr Mary Bousted, the joint general secretary of the NEU, said: “We remain a profession with amongst the highest number of unpaid working hours, and we are still well above the international average for hours worked by teachers. This is simply unsustainable and can only lead to burnout.

“Our survey findings show that whether it be recruitment targets missed, talented teachers leaving the profession, the pernicious effects of a punitive and deeply flawed inspection system, or the effect of real-terms cuts to pay over many years, a national policy decision is always the villain of the piece.”

She said the Department for Education needed to take steps to ‘right the ship’ as too many teachers were leaving the profession with too few new recruits to replace them ‘because the job is made unattractive and unsustainable’.

Dr Bousted said that teaching is a ‘great and fulfilling job’, which people do to make a difference, but that she believes the government is making it too difficult, and that ‘change must come from the top’.

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A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We recognise the pressure that staff in schools and colleges have been under and are enormously grateful to them for their efforts, resilience, and service now and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Teaching remains an attractive and fulfilling profession. The number of teachers in our schools remains high, with more than 461,000 teachers working in schools across the country - 20,000 more than in 2010.

“We have taken and will continue to take action to improve teacher and leader workload and wellbeing, working proactively with the sector to understand the drivers behind such issues and improve our policies and interventions.”

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