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The number of hospital teachers is increasing, as poor conditions affect mental health | Training


Teachers have lost at least 1.5 million working days due to stress and mental health problems, new figures have revealed, amid ongoing concerns about the increasing pressures they face in the classroom.

Given ongoing concerns about workloads and growing class sizes, the new data, which saw The observer estimates that the number of days lost due to mental health problems in some council-controlled schools in England and Wales has increased by 7% compared to the previous year. It is also almost a fifth more than three years ago.

The data was obtained in response to Freedom of Information requests submitted by 143 of the 152 local education authorities in England and Wales. In total, over seven million teacher days have been lost to stress and mental health problems over the past five years. They showed steady growth, emphasizing the pressure the pandemic has placed on the teaching staff.

It turned out that some areas were more affected. In Kent, 91,679 school days were lost in 2021-22, more than anywhere else in the country. In Hampshire, the number of mental health care days rose to 28,945 in 2021-22, a third more than the year before.

Munira Wilson, the Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman who revealed the figures, said she feared there was a growing mental health epidemic among teachers.

“Too much teachers face burnout from unstable loads and relentless pressure,” she said. “Parents will rightly be concerned about the terrible impact this could have on our children’s education and wellbeing.

“The new Education Secretary must develop a clear plan to reverse years of damage to teachers’ mental health and well-being, and to help recruit and retain the staff we need. The Covid inquiry should also examine the impact of the government’s mishandling of the pandemic on the mental health of teachers and other frontline workers.

It comes amid warnings from teaching leaders that labor pressures, combined with the offer of below-inflation pay rises, will exacerbate the teacher retention crisis. Most were offered to increase the salary by 5% next year. – higher than the original offer of 3%, but well below the inflation rate of 9.1%. Starting salaries will increase by 8.9%. The unions said they would consult with their members about possible industrial action in the autumn as a result of the proposal. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the 5% increase offered to most teachers would be “an overall reduction in real terms of almost 12% since 2010”. Schools will have to fund the increase from existing budgets.

Julie McCulloch, policy director of the Association of School and College Leaders, said stress and poor mental health had become a “really significant problem”. She said: “The biggest issue is workload and this is often cited, along with pay, as one of the main reasons why we have such a high turnover rate in education, with 40% of teachers leaving within 10 years of graduating qualifications.

“During the pandemic, schools and staff have had to take on a lot of extra work. All of this will leave many staff feeling burnt out, and we’re also hearing that some have left the pandemic to reassess their work-life balance and quit teaching. This is of great concern because the teacher shortage situation is already quite desperate and looks set to get worse.’

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “The Government is failing to tackle the challenges of excessive workloads, large class sizes, punitive measures, stress and pay required to make teaching a profession that is both attractive to graduates. and which keeps experienced teachers in office.’

A Whitehall official said a future inquiry into Covid included a promise to examine the impact on the nation’s mental health. A Department for Education spokesman said: “We are incredibly grateful for the continued efforts of teachers and school leaders to support pupils, particularly during the pandemic. We are taking steps to support teachers to stay in the profession and thrive. This includes increased pay and the launch of the Education Staff Wellbeing Charter, which commits to reducing unnecessary workload for teachers, championing flexible working and improving access to wellbeing resources.’

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