Who is looking after teachers and school staff

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Lengthy paid holidays, short working days, good starting salary ... on paper, being a teacher doesn’t sound all that bad. So why are more teachers leaving the profession than ever before? Without the right levels of staffing across schools, our children’s education will start to suffer. Is anyone actually looking after our vital school staff?

Data released in June 2023 by the Department for Education highlights some stark facts about teacher numbers in the UK:

  • 9.7% (1 in 10) of all qualified teachers left the state-funded sector in the academic year 2021-22. In actual numbers, that’s
  • 43,997, 7,818 more than the previous year.
  • 12.8% of new teachers left after one year, up from 12.4%.
  • 2,341 headteachers left in 2021-22, the highest number since 2010.
  • 38,109 classroom teachers left state-funded schools, the highest number since 2016-17.

James Zuccollo, the director for school workforce at the Education Policy Institute, said the data “exposes a concerning increase in the number of classroom teachers and headteachers quitting their roles ahead of retirement”.
So what’s causing this disillusionment within the profession? Many teachers feel removed from the reason they entered teaching in the first place – to have a positive impact on children’s learning. Instead they are spending time testing and reporting to satisfy performance metrics and Ofsted. Much of the lesson planning and classroom set up – particularly in primary schools – is done in teachers’ own time and often paid for from their own pockets.
Without a doubt, teaching staff face burn out. Classrooms filled with 30 children, five a days a week, is exhausting. And it wouldn’t take much to help them manage their stress. Having someone to talk to, to put things into perspective, and to help plan a coping strategy. If local education authorities could invest in the mental health of their teaching staff, it probably wouldn’t take long for the exodus to halt.
I wrote in a previous blog about how coaching in schools can help both pupils and staff – have another read here. And with the ever increasing exiteers, surely it’s time for the government to look at the bigger picture. Yes, a pay rise will help with the financial side, but if no one is safeguarding the rest, we’ll be facing a teaching crisis before too long.
The new school year is fast approaching. School staff may be starting to feel anxious about the return or overwhelmed or uncertain at the thought of another term. These feelings could be heightened if starting a new position. If you know a school that would like me to speak to them about how I can help, or if you are a teacher who would like to talk, please contact me.