Almost half of independent school teachers are considering leaving the profession, a survey suggests.
The small survey of 100 teaching staff in independent schools suggests 47% are considering leaving the profession due to “unbearable pressure” during the pandemic. Half said the pandemic had increased their workload, and as a result, 57% said they are struggling to cope.
The survey was commissioned by Ecclesiastical Insurance, a specialist insurer for the faith, heritage, art, charitable and education sectors.
Almost three quarters (72%) of teachers surveyed said their school had experienced more staff mental health concerns since the start of Covid-19, with nearly one in three (29%) saying this has increased greatly. Furthermore, 61% felt that schools needed to do more to support staff wellbeing.
The pollsters asked the independent school teachers to list the most significant career stresses following the pandemic: 65% said pupil stress and anxiety, and 64% said the pressure on staff to help pupils catch up.
Nearly eight in 10 (78%) of respondents felt these anxieties were heightened further following the January 2021 lockdown. The survey was completed before many schools reopened to all pupils on 8 March.
This is a serious risk to schools and administrators and leaders need to make sure there is sufficient support for their staff – Faith Kitchen, Ecclesiastical Insurance
Of those teachers that reported experiencing an increased workload during the pandemic, delivering distance teaching and motivating students with lockdown fatigue were the most commonly cited causes.
Returning to classrooms may alleviate some pressures, but the survey suggests staff returned to face-to-face teaching with a sense of trepidation: 69% were concerned about catching Covid-19, 59% were worried pupils would not adhere to social distancing, and 52% had concerns about the increased workloads.
Faith Kitchen, education director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “Teachers have been faced with the monumental task of keeping pupils engaged and motivated through virtual learning. Now they must navigate the stresses and strains of physical teaching with additional safety measures in place.
“It is clear that these huge challenges are pushing a number of teachers to breaking point. With long hours, health concerns and supporting pupils’ anxieties, teachers are understandably feeling the effects on their own mental health.
“This is a serious risk to schools and administrators and leaders need to make sure there is sufficient support for their staff, as pupils complete the rest of the year. They should also ensure that there are contingency plans to ease the pressure on teachers, should the country go into another lockdown.”