Four in five teachers have considered leaving the profession because of workload, says NEU poll

Initial findings from the latest NEU workload survey, of 8,173 members, which are being published today at the NEU NUT Section Conference in Brighton, shows the continuing scale of the workload problem facing teachers and the impact this is having on their willingness to stay in the profession.

  • A staggering 81% of teachers said they have considered leaving teaching in the last year because of the pressures of workload.
  • 40% of respondents are spending more than 21 hours a week working at home at evenings and weekends
  • More than 80% are now teaching more hours than the average teaching hours in 2016, as schools face rising pupil numbers at the same time as a recruitment and retention crisis.

One third of teachers responding to the NEU survey said that their workload had never been manageable during the past year. Just over half said that it was only sometimes manageable, with only 15% saying that it was manageable all or most of the time. Less than 15% of teachers said that they had a good work-life balance all or most of the time.

Around 2,500 teachers gave comments telling the human story about teacher workload, including the following: 

“We are not trusted to get on and do our job. We are accountable at every level which creates more stress and paperwork. We are exhausted and great teachers are being driven out of the profession because they are burned out!” 

“I don’t know how I can change how I work, I don’t know how long I can maintain it, and the impact that it’s having on my family is horrific.  I am near marriage breakdown and one of the reasons is my job.”

“I will be giving up teaching after this year as the workload and pressure has become too much.”

NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said: “The government cannot keep burying its head in the sand about the issue of workload. It is clearly driving the majority of teachers to despair or out of the profession all together. The continual long hours spent on unnecessary work such as data collection for arbitrary government targets is not only demoralising but is unsustainable mentally and physically. If the government does not act decisively and soon, the recruitment and retention crisis will seriously damage our children and young people’s education.”

  • Like this story? Please support our work here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *