But few teachers discuss their difficulties with line managers
The number of teachers with poor mental health has reached shocking new levels, and workload is to blame, a new poll has found.
Eighty-four per cent of teachers have suffered from mental-health problems at some point over the last two years, the survey of 2,000 teachers reveals.
The charity Education Support Partnership (ESP), which conducted the research, says that the numbers of teachers who have had mental-health problems has been rising for at least five years. And the vast majority – 81 per cent – of these teachers attribute their problems to excessive workload.
But only a quarter of teachers suffering from poor mental health discussed these issues with their line managers.
ESP said that the survey highlighted the need for teachers, as well as pupils, to have access to counselling services in schools.
Julian Stanley, chief executive of ESP, said that, while the education secretary regularly talks about the increase in children’s mental-health difficulties, she does not place similar emphasis on staff mental health.
“Why aren’t staff’s mental-health issues as important?” he said. “Why can’t we provide more of a Rolls-Royce service from the start of their training?”
But Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said that counsellors could only treat the symptoms of the problem, rather than the underlying issues.
“We’ve got to deal with the root cause of the issue, which is excessive workload,” she said.
The Department for Education said that it was working with teachers to tackle the causes of workload, and that it trusted schools to support their staff.
This is an edited version of an article in the 4 March issue of TES. Subscribers can read the full article here. Pick up a copy of this week’s TES magazine from any good newsagent. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here.