Today, Thursday 16 May, the Education Support Partnership issued a press release saying that their teacher emotional support helpline has received a rise in calls over the last year. This has been covered by the Independent, TES and the Yorkshire Post.
The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds has been clear that teacher wellbeing is a priority for him and the department. That is why we are already taking action in this area to strengthen work life balance and wellbeing, by reducing workload, supporting early career school teachers and tackling accountability pressures. Part of this work has included the creation of a workload reduction toolkit, designed with the help of school leaders and teachers, to provide practical advice and resources that schools can use. The toolkit has collectively been downloaded over 140,000 times since publication last July.
We are also tackling excessive data burdens in schools; simplifying the accountability system to target the associated burdens and working with Ofsted to ensure staff workload is considered as part of a school’s inspection judgement. Alongside this, the Early Career Framework will underpin an entitlement to a funded two-year support package for new teachers, providing them with the early career support and development including mentoring
We are clear that employers also have a legal duty to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees, including minimising the risk of stress-related illness.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
We want every child to be taught by great teachers who have the time, freedom and support to do what they do best - inspire the next generation.
Where staff are struggling we trust headteachers to take action to tackle the causes of stress and ensure they have the support they need.
In March, the Secretary of State announced the launch of an Expert Advisory Group to look at how teachers and school leaders can be better supported to deal with the pressures of the job, which builds on our Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy which focuses on the importance of developing supportive cultures.