Parents reveal concerns over teacher stress

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A new perspective on the pressures of teaching has been revealed by research into parents’ views of the stress levels among their children’s teachers.

Involving more than 1,500 parents, the study found that more than half of them think teachers are under more pressure than other professionals.

Furthermore, almost three-quarters said schools are stressful places to work, with the most commonly cited reasons being pupil behaviour, Ofsted, parental demands, and pressure from school leadership.

When asked about the consequences of teacher stress, many respondents expressed concerns that their children’s education could have suffered.

More than a quarter felt that excessive workloads had affected the quality of teaching in their children’s schools, while a third said teachers were focused too much on exam results. 

The survey was commissioned by the Teacher Support Network, a charity which offers counselling and guidance services for teachers.

Chief executive Julian Stanley, who writes regularly in SecEd, said the government needs to recognise that stress within the profession is a problem.

He said: “Parents and the wider public share in our considerable concern around stress levels faced by teachers in their workplace. Not only is stress bad for teachers’ wellbeing, but our research shows it’s damaging for pupils and impacts negatively on the education system as a whole. 

“We call on the government to recognise that there is a problem and to encourage school leaders to take health and wellbeing seriously. We should work together to improve teacher training and resolve the issue of heavy workloads and long working hours.

?“It is essential to prevent burnout and escalation of stress-related issues in schools and particularly for management to be on alert for signs of stress. We know that there is a link between teacher stress and pupil performance. We hope policy-makers and the broader education sector will join us as we make the education case for improved teacher wellbeing.”

The Teacher Support Network has a 24/7 support line offering telephone counselling and advice. Visit www.teachersupport.info


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