The study of teachers’ wellbeing in the UK revealed another 62% often feel stressed while at work.
Overall teacher wellbeing at work was reported as being moderate to low. This was largely due to factors such as a high workload, struggles with work/life balance, and a perceived lack of support from leaders.
However, the issue is complex as 77% of teachers said they are satisfied with their job and 71% would choose it all over again if they were given a second chance to pick a career.
In a separate YouGov study 82% of teachers said the most positive aspect of their job is making a difference to children’s lives, but 55% also said their experiences so far would make them think twice before recommending the profession to a younger person.
Retention may be a problem in the profession as Hays’ research showed 20% of new teachers leave teaching within their first two years, with another 33% leaving within their first five years.
Around 35% of teachers reported low levels of occupational wellbeing, while 26% reported moderate levels and 39% reported high levels. Those who are in senior leadership positions were shown to fare much better in terms of wellness, with 61% having reported high levels of wellbeing at work.
Findings revealed an opportunity in the school environment for line managers to offer better support to teachers, especially when it comes to physical and mental wellness. While 57% of teachers reported feeling that line managers support their professional development, only 36% said that their line managers focus on supporting their wellbeing.
Paul Matthias, national director of Hays Education, said: “To offer the very best care and support to students it’s crucial that teachers and support staff feel happy, empowered and excited about the work they do every day.
“A strong focus on staff happiness can help headteachers improve retention, attract new talent and bring positivity into the classroom.”
The study provided suggestions on how to achieve a more positive school culture and a greater focus on a healthy work/life balance. Being open to collaboration and discussion, trusting teachers to try new strategies in classrooms, being proactive in following up on concerns, backing them up in parent-teacher conflicts, and providing feedback and recognition for a job well done were all examples.
The National Education Union stated that stress is the predominant cause of work-related illness in the education sector, and recommends using the Health and Safety Executive's management standards approach.
The approach aims to “provide a yardstick against which to measure performance in tackling the causes of work-related stress”.