40% Of Scotland's Teachers Plan to Leave

7 September 2017, 13:49

Teaching Classroom Teacher School

Almost half of Scottish teachers are considering leaving their job in the next 18 months due to stress, a survey has found.

A report by Bath Spa University described the working conditions of Scotland's teachers as "extremely poor".

Concerns were raised over the demands placed on educational staff, poor support from management, bad behaviour from pupils and parents, and "constant changes" to the curriculum.

An online survey of almost 5,000 teachers found that 40% are planning to leave their post within the next 18 months due to stress and lack of job satisfaction.

A positive in the report was peer support and the amount of help and support teachers said they received from colleagues.

The report said: "On average teachers work a minimum 11 hours more than they are contracted to each week, the majority are dissatisfied in their role, and over 40% are planning on leaving the job in the next 18 months.

"Finally, both primary and secondary teachers are exposed to high levels of poor student behaviour, and approximately 40% of primary teachers are exposed to negative parental behaviour either online or on school premises at least once a month.

"Overall however, we found that the one working condition which consistently led to greater stress, reduced job satisfaction, and intentions to leave the job, was that of demands.

"This was exemplified by teachers in Scotland having too many administrative expectations and not enough preparation time, as well as a lack of managerial support mechanisms for dealing with poor student and parental behaviour.

"Additionally, constant changes to the curriculum increased the demands associated with planning and teaching, and large class sizes in addition to a lack of class and student support all proved particularly stressful."

The Scottish Government said it has made a commitment to tackle bureaucracy and excessive teacher workload.

The survey was distributed to members of the EIS teaching union but the authors said it was independent of any organisation.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: "The results of this independent research confirm that Scotland's teachers continue to be overburdened with excessive workload demands and are subject to high levels of stress.

"Particularly worrying, in light of the recruitment challenges that exist across the country, is the finding that over 40% of teachers are considering leaving their job within the next 18 months.

"This clearly highlights the need for urgent action to make teaching a more attractive profession, with better working conditions, to ensure that we can continue to attract and retain highly qualified graduates into teaching."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "We are absolutely committed to freeing up teachers to do what they do best - teach.

"We have already acted to reduce teachers' workload - working closely with EIS, local authorities and other partners - ensuring they can focus on providing valuable learning experiences for young people.

"As agreed with the EIS, we are phasing the removal of mandatory unit assessments for a number of qualifications. We have clearly set out what teachers should and should not be asked to do, and reviewed demands placed on schools by local authorities in relation to Curriculum for Excellence."

Report co-author Dr Jermaine Ravalier presented the report, titled Scotland's Teachers: Working Conditions and Wellbeing, at the British Science Festival in Brighton on Thursday.

She said: "If only half of those who said they'd leave actually do so in the next 18 months, our public services are about to be hit with a huge exodus of staff. If and when this happens it is not only hugely expensive, but will also have massive impacts on our next generation, as well as those who require the help and support of our social services."