Government needs to better understand teacher wellbeing and workload and why they're leaving education profession - Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Robert Dring, retired headteacher, Saltburn, Cleveland.

You reported a Department for Education spokesperson’s response to a survey showing that almost half of teachers intend to leave the profession in the next five years (The Yorkshire Post, April 11).

“We have taken and will continue to take action to improve teacher and leader workload and wellbeing, working proactively with the sector to understand the drivers behind such issues and improve our policies and interventions.”

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Please could this spokesperson be asked to translate this twaddle into plain English, and to give three specific examples of measures taken in the last two years which have significantly reduced stress and workload?

Readers have their say on teachers are leaving the profession.

If DfE personnel are serious about understanding “the drivers behind such issues”, I recommend they invest in some mirrors.

From: Brian H Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

Jayne Dowle reports that at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) conference in March, curriculum lead Tom Middlehurst warned that the union was seeing “more students who have evidenced anxiety and are coming with doctors’ notes and GP notes saying ‘we have anxiety about coming to the exams’.” (The Yorkshire Post April 11).

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As a retired teacher I have experienced anxiety from my 11 plus, through O and A-levels, university and teaching. I would be concerned if my own children were not nervous about their exams. It’s normal.

From: Chris Johnson, Exmouth Place, Bradford.

If there is one thing more worrying than the persistent shortage of teachers, it’s the complacent response from the Department for Education.

Whether there are 20,000 more teachers than in 2010 is beside the point: The fact is that many schools have been struggling with staff absence and vacancies not just for years but for decades.

Whilst there might not be a single, simple solution to the problem, there are two measures that could be taken.

The first would be to find out why teachers leave, preferably before they do so. I left teaching four times, but the only time I was asked why was at the end of a fixed-term contract.

If government and employers don’t know why teachers leave, they stand little chance of improving the situation.