Half of England's teachers are considering leaving their professions, a new study by YouGov and the National Union of Teachers has revealed. According to the data, too much work due to staff cuts and the pursuit of a better work/life balance is leading educators to consider alternative professions.
England's teachers are enjoying their jobs less as staff cuts especially in assistant teacher posts puts too much work overload on their shoulders. That's why more than 60% of the teachers polled expressed their intention to leave in the recent National Union of Teachers survey.
"This survey demonstrates the combined, negative impact of the accountability agenda on teacher workload and morale," Christine Blower, General Secretary at the NUT said commenting on the findings.
Teachers are working for up to 60 hours per week while the top reasons for quitting their professions are workload volume (61%) and the pursuit of a better work/life balance (57%). Schools minister Nick Gibb says that despite the poll's findings, the teaching profession is still popular:
"Teaching remains a hugely popular profession, with the highest numbers of people joining since 2008," Gibb said. "The latest figures show the number of former teachers coming back to the classroom has continued to rise year after year – from 14,720 in 2011 to 17,350 in 2014. While the vast majority of teachers stay in their roles for more than five years, we know unnecessary workload can detract from what matters most: teaching."
The poll also revealed that morale among teachers has plummeted in the past five years with 67% of surveyed teachers saying their morale has worsened and just 9% saying it improved.
The survey also reveals that about three in four teachers believe that education policies on curriculum and student assessment are unimaginative and lack depth. Blower said:
"The government's current priorities are both wrong and profoundly out of step with the views of teachers. They are the essential cause of the growing problems with teacher supply."
The National Union of Teachers says that government initiatives to identify where workload gets out of hand haven't been successful. The NUT also expressed its opposition for the Tory-introduced performance-related pay (PRP) policy.
According to the teacher poll, two in three teachers are against it with almost nine in every ten policy opponents arguing that it's not realistic to associate teacher effort to student performance.
In the next ten years almost one million extra students will be in schools. Blower warns:
"Meanwhile, nearly one million more students are coming into the system over the next decade. The government's solution so far has been to build free schools, often where there are surplus places, and to allow class sizes to grow."
The poll reveals that the majority of teachers share Blower's viewpoint, as 62% believe that the plans to establish 500 free schools will be harmful for education as a whole.
The 1,020 primary and secondary school teachers' responses reveal that 54% believe the new baseline test for 4-year-olds can offer valid insights over children's potential.