Ofsted report on teacher well-being, July 2019

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According to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive, teaching staff and education professionals report the highest rates of work-related stress, depression and anxiety in Britain.

Executive summary

Teachers love being in the classroom and working with pupils. Their love of teaching arises from generally positive relationships with pupils and from teachers’ belief that teaching is worthwhile. Relationships with colleagues and work culture are generally positive factors that contribute to teachers’ well-being at work.

However, the report shows that teachers are suffering from high workloads, lack of work–life balance, a perceived lack of resources and, in some cases, a perceived lack of support from senior managers, especially in managing pupils’ behaviour. They sometimes feel the profession does not receive the respect it deserves. All these negative feelings in turn may lead to higher levels of sickness absence.

However, despite the positive feelings towards teaching as a vocation and towards their workplace, many teachers believe that the advantages of their profession do not outweigh the disadvantages and that their profession is undervalued in society. This is exemplified for some by the combination of limited policy influence (they feel ‘done to’ rather than ‘worked with’) and insufficient funding to deliver the goals they would like to. This leads to a sense of de-professionalisation.

Teachers’ satisfaction with life is lower than that of the general public. This could, at least partially, be due to the impact of occupational well-being on general well-being in life, in view of the excessive amount of time that is spent on work-related tasks particularly by teachers and senior leaders.

The self-reported occupational well-being of most respondents from schools and FES providers is generally low or moderate. The report found lower levels of well-being among more experienced teachers and those working in schools or providers graded requires improvement or inadequate. Specific elements of well-being, such as excessive workload and work–life balance, coupled with perceived low pay, were also found to have led some teachers to leave the profession.

Findings

1.Workload is high, affecting work–life balance.

2. Staff perceive lack of resources as a problem that stops them from doing their job as well as they can.

3. Poor behaviour is a considerable source of low occupational well-being, and teachers do not always feel supported by senior leaders and parents with managing it.

4. Relationships with parents can be a negative factor and a source of stress.

5. Educators told us that they do not have enough influence over policy, which changes too quickly.

6. Educators also feel that Ofsted inspections are a source of stress.

7. Findings on overall support from senior leaders are mixed.

8. Staff need more support from their line managers.

The full report can be found here.

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