Teachers warn of quitting due to 'unsustainable workloads' and 'pressure on family life'

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A wave of teachers have warned they are planning to leave the profession within the next five years as unsustainable workloads are piling pressure on their family life and also gravely undermining the quality of education for the nation's pupils.

As many as two-fifths of teachers fear that they will be left with the stark choice of finding an alternative career by 2024 due to the demands of the job with rising workloads coupled with mounting bureaucracy.

A wave of school teachers are threatening to quit the profession due to workload pressures.

A wave of school teachers are threatening to quit the profession due to workload pressures.

Nearly two-third of teachers have admitted the reasons for leaving are workload, and 40 per cent indicate it is due to the accountability regime.

Union leaders have today called for drastic action and a major rethink by the Government in order to stop the “haemorrhaging of good teachers from the profession” after nearly 9,000 teachers were questioned about the state of the profession.

The joint general secretary of the NEU, Kevin Courtney, said: “It is clear from our survey that the Government is doing a far better job of driving teachers out of the profession than they are solving the issue of excessive workload.

“(Education Secretary) Damian Hinds has made many of the right noises about fixing the problem, but he and his predecessors have achieved very little.

“The fundamental problem, as the results of our survey shows, is one of excessive accountability brought on by the Department for Education and Ofsted. The blame is at their door.

“So long as the main drivers of a performance-based system are still in place, schools will continue to be in the grip of a culture of fear, over-regulation, and a lack of trust.”

One teacher reported wanting to get out of the job “before it kills me”.

Another said they had come to the realisation that “education is not conducive to family life”.

The survey asked what would make the job better in the next 12 months.

One of the respondents claimed that less assessment of pupils would be more beneficial, as the current system is creating too much pressure on pupils and too much marking for teachers. Another said trust should be given back to the teachers.

The survey also asked respondents what caused them stress.

Seventy-two per cent said the amount of work expected of them, 58 per cent said work-life balance, and 51 per cent said external accountability.

The survey findings were released ahead of the NEU’s annual conference in Liverpool debating a motion on teacher workload today.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “The Education Secretary has set out his determination to help teachers and school leaders reduce their workload and we have taken a range of actions to do this.

“It is an important element of our recently published recruitment and retention strategy.

“We have worked with school leaders and teachers to create a workload reduction toolkit, which provides practical advice and resources that schools can use rather than creating new ones from scratch.

“We are also tackling excessive data burdens in schools; simplifying the accountability system to target the associated burdens and working with Ofsted to ensure staff workload is considered as part of a school’s inspection judgement.”