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Survey shows that nearly half of teachers have seriously considered leaving the teaching profession in the last 12 months

The overwhelming majority of teachers love working with children, but around half say that they are dissatisfied with their job, mainly because of excessive workload.

A survey of teachers’ levels of job satisfaction and wellbeing, carried out by independent polling company ComRes, validates research undertaken by the NASUWT which suggests that the teaching profession is on the verge of a crisis.

The survey found that:

  • over half of teachers (52%) say that they have seriously considered leaving their current job in the last 12 months and nearly half (47%) have seriously considered leaving the profession;
  • two fifths of teachers (41%) say their job satisfaction has decreased in the last 12 months;
  • teachers’ biggest concern regarding their job is workload (79%), followed by pay and pensions (66%), changes or reforms in the curriculum (59%) and school inspections (51%). The vast majority of teachers (86%) say that their workload has increased in the last 12 months;
  • the top three things teachers love most about their jobs are seeing children learn and progress (91%), interacting with pupils (90%) and making a positive difference (83%);
  • more than two thirds (68%) say that they enjoy their job and 62% feel a sense of accomplishment for the work they do. However, almost two fifths (37%) say that their enjoyment level has decreased in the past 12 months and one third (32%) say the same of their sense of accomplishment. More than three quarters of teachers (77%) say their workplace stress levels have increased during the same period;
  • the majority of teachers disagree that teaching is competitive with other occupations in terms of either the financial rewards on offer (80%) or salaries (67%) and only 21% of teachers feel optimistic about their career opportunities;
  • half of teachers (50%) say they have been forced to cut back on food and essential household expenditure as a result of the pay freeze and increases in pension contributions. Nearly a third (30%) report having to increasingly rely on credit and overdrafts;
  • 44% of teachers have experienced verbal abuse from a pupil and 24% from a parent in the last 12 months.14% have experienced threats of physical assault from a pupil and 8% have been assaulted by a student over the same period.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The independent research published by ComRes confirms the findings of successive NASUWT reports and research since 2010 that teachers in England are demoralised and stressed as a result of the daily assault by the Coalition Government on their pay and working conditions.

“The ComRes poll makes clear that whilst teachers love teaching and are passionate about helping pupils to succeed, their ability to be effective is being severely hampered by excessive workload and perverse accountability systems which divert teachers’ time and energy from the all important task of teaching and leading pupils’ learning.

“Teachers’ enthusiasm, morale and energy are being stifled by the Coalition Government's reforms which can only be detrimental to the education of children and young people.

“The Secretary of State’s claims that teachers are the happiest of all professions or that the teaching profession support the Coalition Government’s reforms have been exposed as false.

“Instead of trivialising teachers' concerns, it is time that the Coalition Government engaged in serious and genuine dialogue with the NASUWT before irreparable damage is done to the teaching profession, with the consequent adverse impact upon children and young people and the education system.”