It shouldn’t be like this. If this country is to withstand Brexit and the economic turbulence that every possible outcome will bring about, it needs to invest even more time – and resources – in its young people. They are this country’s future.
This is why The Yorkshire Post said this week that the Industrial Strategy begins in the home because of the fundamental importance of early years education before continuing in schools where the skills taught to pupils will have a major bearing on their subsequent careers.
As such, today’s revelations about the number of teachers facing burnout because of stress – and also the number of trainees overawed by the pressures before they even enter the classroom – is worrying on many levels.Not only because long hours, even more intense at exam time, are taking their toll on the wellbeing of staff, but absenteeism means an increased reliance on supply teachers when continuity in lessons is crucial. The consequence is often larger class sizes and a negative impact on exam results.
Some schools have come up with extreme solutions, such as switching computer servers off at night to stop teachers working at home, to combat this and individual headteachers should feel empowered to act in the best interests of their staff and school community. However there does need to be recognition from the Government that this is a genuine issue and that Ministers should actively encourage schools, LEAs and others to provide more support for teachers where appropriate. For, unless they do, it will be harder to recruit – and retain – the very best teachers whose work is integral in so many ways to this nation’s future success.