Almost half of England’s state school teachers who took part in a new survey say they will be out of education by 2027.
The latest annual survey of 1,788 members of the NEU apprenticeship union – conducted in February and March – found that 44 percent plan to leave within five years and 22 percent plan to leave within two years.
The numbers are higher than last year, when 14 percent said they would leave within two years and 41 percent within five years.
However, before the Covid pandemic in 2019, 51 percent said they would leave within five years and 21 percent within two years.
Official national statistics show that the two-year retention rate after qualification is 80.5 percent. Department of Education statistics also show that 41 percent of teachers retire within 10 years, but this relates only to newly qualified teachers, while the NEU survey covers members at all stages of their careers.
When responding to the survey, over half (52 percent) of teachers said their workload was either “unmanageable” or “unmanageable most of the time,” up from 35 percent in 2021.
When asked about workload, motivation was overwhelming for 65 per cent of teachers in English state schools who are expected to leave within two years and 63 per cent of those who are leaving within five years.
Teachers could choose three options from a list of 15, with “feeling that the profession of educator is not valued or appreciated by government and media” is the second most popular, voted for by 38 per cent of English government teachers who plan to leave within five years.
It was followed by accountability (35 percent), pay (25 percent), and retirement (26 percent).
Responding teachers were asked about vacancies in the support staff 74 percent of teachers in state-funded special schools and student referral units (PRUs) feel the situation has gotten worse since March 2020.
The same is said by 66 percent of secondary school teachers and 56 percent of elementary school teachers.
Similarly, 67 percent of secondary school teachers thought the picture of vacancies had deteriorated, compared with 59 percent of teachers in special schools and PRUs and 44 percent of teachers in primary schools.
Teachers on the verge of burnout
When it comes to well-being, two-thirds of students in state-funded schools in England reported that they feel stressed at least 60 per cent of the time when “I haven’t thought about it” answers are subtracted from the results.
And 41 percent said they felt stressed at work 80 percent of the time, compared to 15 percent who felt stressed less than 40 percent of the time.
When asked about the top three things that could be done to improve their well-being, a clear majority of 71 percent said a reduction in workload.
“Change must come from above”
Commenting on the survey results, Dr. Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, said the situation was “unacceptable” and could only lead to burnout.
She said the government should not simply accept that the heavy workload is a “problem” but that it has “played a major role” in many of the contributing factors.
She added: “Let’s have no doubt. Teaching is a great and fulfilling job, and people go into the profession because they want to make a difference.
“But the government is making this difficult, and if we are to collectively do what is right for young people, we need to be able to give them the education they deserve. This change has to come from above.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Education told the government recognized the pressures that school and college staff were under and was “enormously grateful” for their efforts, resilience and service.
They added: “Teaching remains an attractive and fulfilling profession. The number of teachers in our schools remains high, with more than 461,000 teachers working in schools across the country – 20,000 more than in 2010.
“We have taken and will continue to take action to improve the workload and wellbeing of teachers and leaders by proactively working with the sector to understand the root causes behind such issues and improving our policies and interventions.”