Dr Chris Nicholson, an expert in psychoanalytics, made his comments after listening to teachers’ comments left on the “Goveline”, a recorded telephone line set-up last year.
Dr Nicholson, who lectures at the University of Essex’s Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, examined transcripts of the calls and said the comments were “a kind of live litmus test for assessing the health of the school system”.
He continued: “If one listens to the tone of the respondents rather than merely the content, then it is the negative atmosphere and anxiety which seems to permeate the current school system that stand out. What comes over loud and clear is the overwhelming, choking pressure individual teachers face day-to-day as they try to do what seems a simple enough job of educating our young. Teachers feel that government demands their adaptation to each and every new innovation, agenda for change or policy directive, but gives little or nothing back to help them do this.”
The “Goveline” was set up by recruitment company TLTP Education and gives teachers a chance to vent their feelings and frustrations. The company collects the recordings and sends them to the Department for Education.
One teacher who called the line was three years into the profession and Dr Nicholson said that their “energies and creativity are clearly being blunted by the realities of daily life in school”. He added: “She spoke in heartfelt way about the number of policies which she could hardly keep abreast of, a culture of blame, overwhelming marking and assessment which spill over the working day and late into the evening.”
The Goveline is still open for calls on 0845 838 6361.