ASCL comment on Teacher Wellbeing Index 2021

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the publication of the Teacher Wellbeing Index.
Commenting on the publication of the Teacher Wellbeing Index, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

Whilst it is not a surprise to learn that the severe disruption to education during the coronavirus pandemic has had a negative impact on the mental health of teachers, the ramifications for the profession are extremely worrying.

“It cannot be right that more than three-quarters of those surveyed by Education Support reported that they have experienced symptoms of poor mental health due to their work, nor that 85% of senior school leaders describe themselves as suffering from stress.

“The government placed wholly unreasonable demands on the teaching profession throughout the pandemic, expecting them to deliver education both in person and online, to assess and award grades to students who should have been taking exams last summer and to organise lateral flow testing and contact tracing. All this whilst bombarding them with constantly shifting guidance, some of which was contradictory and delivered at the last minute.

“No wonder then that so many teachers have been pushed to the absolute limit, with only their dedication and desire to help young people preventing them walking away from the profession in large numbers.

“The longer-term picture meanwhile shows that very little has changed in the last five years, with excessive workload consistently cited by teachers as a major reason for symptoms of poor mental health.

“The government needs to stop taking teachers for granted and acknowledge the serious impact the pandemic has had on their mental health by delivering and funding more training and support to allow them to concentrate on the job of educating young people