Two in five teachers are considering quitting

Written by: Sam Phipps | Published:
As a retired Head Tscmseacher I would say that the whole culture in schools changed with the ...

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More than 40 per cent of Scotland’s teachers are thinking of leaving the profession in the next 18 months because their workload is too heavy, according to research based on almost 5,000 responses.

Academics from Bath Spa University, who conducted the independent survey of members of the Educational Institute for Scotland (EIS), concluded that teachers’ working conditions were “extremely poor” irrespective of the job they did.

The report states: “Scottish teachers have high levels of demands, poor control over how they perform their functions, poor support from management, at times strained relationships at work, a poor understanding of their role in an organisation, and are exposed to a lot of organisational change without consultation.

“Teachers in Scotland have too many administrative expectations and not enough preparation time, as well as a lack of managerial support mechanisms for dealing with challenging student and parental behaviour.”

Both primary and secondary teachers faced “high levels” of poor student behaviour, with about 40 per cent of primary teachers experiencing negative parental behaviour either online or on school premises at least once a month.

Co-author Dr Jermaine Ravalier, co-lead of the Psychological Research Group at Bath Spa, said government cuts were responsible: “We have clear evidence that underfunding in our public services is leading to increased stress and intentions to leave.

“If only half of those who said they’d leave actually do so in the next 18 months, our public services are about to be hit with a huge exodus of staff. If and when this happens it is not only hugely expensive, but will also have massive impacts on our next generation, as well as those who require the help and support of our social services.”

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS, said: “The results confirm that teachers continue to be overburdened with excessive workload demands and are subject to high levels of stress.”

The danger that so many teachers were considering leaving their jobs in the next 18 months is “particularly worrying” because many schools across Scotland already face recruitment challenges, he added.

The findings highlight the need for urgent action to make teaching a more attractive profession, with better working conditions, so that highly qualified graduates can be attracted and retained, Mr Flanagan said.

“This must include reducing the bureaucratic and workload demands on teachers, ensuring that schools are fully staffed and significant improvements in levels of pay following a decade of real-terms cuts to teachers’ salaries.”

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: “We have made a commitment to tackle bureaucracy and address excessive teacher workload and that will continue to be a key theme of our bold education reforms. We have clearly set out what teachers should and should not be asked to do, and reviewed demands placed on schools by local authorities in relation to Curriculum for Excellence.”

As a retired Head Tscmseacher I would say that the whole culture in schools changed with the introduction of OFSTED and league tables. Instead of trying to encourage and develop teachers I was expected to assess them and where necessary get rid of them to try to get better SATs results. If I didn't do that I would be removed and replaced for not doing my job. Far removed from the team work culture from when I was first a Head Teacher.
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