Exodus from teaching caused by low morale

25 May 00
Lack of autonomy in the classroom and increasing bureaucracy are contributing to soaring stress levels among teachers, with record numbers wanting to leave the profession, according to a report from a teachers' charity.

26 May 2000

The Teachers' Benevolent Fund: the Teacher Support Network says 49% of all teachers are planning to leave the profession within the next five years and that feelings of powerlessness are one of the principal reasons for this.

The survey, based on calls to the charity's telephone counselling service, Teacherline, found that rising workloads and changes brought about by new initiatives have made teachers feel they are no longer in charge of their workload.

TBF chief executive Patrick Nash, speaking at a conference on May 22 to mark the publication of the report, said there was a clear link between low morale and the loss of autonomy in the classroom.

'There is a relationship between stress and low morale and the lack of creativity and autonomy caused by an increasingly prescriptive curriculum,' he explained.

If stress-related problems were dealt with earlier and more effectively, the report estimates that savings of £25m–£50m per year could be made through falling sickness absences and fewer early retirements.

'There needs to be greater recognition of the problems and some of the solutions need to be built into the system,' Nash added. 'Some part-time admin staff providing back-up could really help to reduce stress among teachers.'


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