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Teacher Mental Health Crisis

Andy Haynes, Leicester NEU H&S Officer
20th March 2020

The Education Support Partnership has demanded that urgent action be taken by the government and sector to address a stress epidemic and rising mental health issues across the entire UK education workforce. More than three-quarters of teachers surveyed experienced work-related behavioural, psychological or physical symptoms, and more than half were considering leaving the profession due to poor health.

Senior leaders have been particularly hard hit with 80% suffering from workrelated stress, 40% suffering from symptoms of depression and 63% considering leaving the profession - an issue which, unaddressed, will leave many schools with no one to lead, motivate staff and maintain and improve educational outcomes.

A survey carried out by Leeds Beckett University has shown that more than half of all teachers have a diagnosed mental health problem. Eight in 10 respondents (81 per cent) said poor mental health had a negative impact on the quality of their relationships with their pupils.

Professor Jonathan Glazzard, of Leeds Beckett University's Carnegie School of Education, has stated: It is clear from this research that teachers feel that their own mental health can have a detrimental impact on the quality of their teaching, the progress of their learners and the quality of the relationships they establish with students and colleagues. Teachers feel that they are less effective in the classroom if their mental health is not good. Our on-going research in this area demonstrates that teacher workload contributes to poor teacher mental health.

He added that teachers were suffering from the effects of constant learning walks, lesson observations and work scrutiny. There are simply too many of them and that is having a detrimental effect on the mental health of teachers. Happy teachers teach well and enable children to achieve good outcomes, he said.

The NEU is calling for employers to change the workplace and not the worker - an easy first step is to ask employers to adopt the NEU Mental Health Charter.

 

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