Three quarters of the public think teachers contribute greatly to society’s wellbeing, poll shows

Almost three quarters of the public believe that teachers are among those that contribute the most to society’s wellbeing, according to a survey.

New research has revealed that 73 per cent of people feel teachers give as much to society as firefighters, with only doctors (87 per cent) and hospital workers (81 per cent) ranking higher.

The YouGov survey, commissioned on behalf of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), showed that teachers were ranked ahead of nine other professions, including police officers (67 per cent), scientists (53 per cent) and engineers (34 per cent).

More than 1,000 survey respondents were asked to choose six professions that they felt contributed most to society’s wellbeing. Bankers were at the bottom of the league with just 4 per cent.

But the report also revealed that members of public held actors in higher esteem than teachers. When respondents were asked to choose the six professions that they respected the most, just 10 per cent named teachers, while 14 per cent chose actors. Higher ratings went to doctors (45 per cent), hospital workers (23 per cent), firefighters (14 per cent) and scientists (11 per cent).

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT union, said: “The survey rightly identifies, first of all, the positive contribution that teachers make, but secondly that people judge professions by their pay levels and the status that they are given.

“It is not surprising that after five years of attack and denigration by this government and its coalition predecessor, the public has taken a more negative view of the profession and does not hold teachers in higher esteem. How teachers are presented publically contributes to this and all the stories which are presented about teachers tend to be negative.”

Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the NUT, said: “Teaching is one of the best professions in the world and teachers make an enormous contribution to society. The battle the profession has been having for too many years is to make sure that government starts to respect and value teachers in the same way the general public does.”

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