NQTs working more hours but also more satisfied

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

Despite working nine hours a week more than graduates in other professions, NQTs report higher wellbeing and life satisfaction, a study has found.

However, compared to other graduates NQTs feel that their hard work often goes unrewarded.

The researchers from the UCL Institute of Education looked at data from a cohort study tracking around 16,000 people born in 1989-90. By age 26, 291 of the cohort had been teaching for up to three years.

Overall, the teachers reported higher levels of life satisfaction and showed no evidence of worse mental health or less active social lives, when compared to others in the cohort.

Teachers were however less likely than their peers to believe that Britain is a place where hard work gets rewarded. The findings showed that compared to all graduates, teachers are paid around £22 more per week. However, teachers received £54 per week less than their peers working in health and £71 less than those in office jobs.

The study, which was funded by the Nuffield Foundation, has been published in the British Journal of Educational Studies. Lead author, Professor John Jerrim, said: "We are currently seeing a shortage of appropriately qualified teachers, particularly in secondary schools, and we wanted to find out why so many are leaving the profession.

“If teachers are expected to work long hours, often for little extra pay – but do not feel that this effort is appreciated – it is little wonder why many end up choosing to leave the profession.

“More work needs to be done to understand exactly why young teachers feel this way, and education policy-makers and school leaders need to make greater efforts to show junior teachers that their hard work and dedication to the job is highly valued and sincerely appreciated.”

Cheryl Lloyd, head of the Education Programme at the Nuffield Foundation, said: “It is reassuring that the early career teachers in this study reported relatively good life satisfaction and similar mental health to their peers. However, given the on-going teacher supply crisis we must not be complacent, as less experienced teachers are more likely to leave the profession. New, returning and more experienced teachers have a vital role to play in education and it is important that we build a better understanding of how we can better attract and retain teachers."

  • Jerrim: How is life as a recently qualified teacher? New evidence from a longitudinal cohort study in England, British Journal of Educational Studies, March 2020: http://bit.ly/2TCsqD8


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