New research highlights concern about teacher wellbeing over the summer break

26th July 2018

New research into the health and wellbeing of teachers during the summer holiday has found that over half (53%) worry to a ‘large extent’ about the amount of preparation needed for the next academic year.

Research released today (Thursday 26 July) from charity Education Support Partnership has also discovered that the number of days teachers expect to work over the holidays has increased from six days five years ago to an expected eight days this year.

For headteachers, deputies and senior leaders the situation is worse with days worked over the holidays increasing from nine days five years ago to an expected eleven days this year.

Over 43% of the 811 teachers* asked also stated that they find it increasingly difficult to ‘switch off from work’ during the holidays.

When teachers were asked what it is that was causing them stress and anxiety during the period:

  • 68% said student performance and pending exam results
  • 65% stated a lack of autonomy and control over their role
  • 60% highlighted financial worries
  • 54 % said they would worry about their health
  • 47% stated having positive professional relationships with colleagues
  • 46% said they had concerns over job security

Positively, 73% of teachers stated that they intend to proactively try and look after their health and wellbeing over the summer holiday.

In response to the survey findings, Julian Stanley, CEO at Education Support Partnership, said:

"Our findings indicate there is a growing trend towards teachers experiencing work-related stress and anxiety over the summer break. This is a period when teachers should predominately be focused on detaching themselves from their role and focusing on their own individual health and wellbeing.

"Failure to do so runs the risk of burnout in the next the academic year, which seriously impacts on their ability to meet the needs of pupils and ensure we have a thriving education system.

"Education Support Partnership is encouraging all teachers and education staff to follow a series of activities this summer, which are proven to improve their wellbeing. We will also continue run our 24/7 free emotional support helpline and financial grants service throughout the break, which we encourage teachers to use at the earliest sign of concern."

Victoria Hewett, teacher, blogger and author, known also as Mrs Humanities, added:

"In my first few years of teaching, I didn’t have to wait until the summer, I was exhausted by October half term and didn’t always feel I wanted to go back to school. I started experiencing dizziness and vertigo which almost led me to passing out in front of a class and several visits to the GP and hospital.

"By my fourth year I’d fallen into a state of depression, which I hadn’t realised at the time. When the summer did arrive, I spent it catching up on unfinished work and preparing for the following September rather than taking time out to relax and recuperate. I would encourage anyone struggling over the holidays to contact the Education Support Partnership for advice.”

Education Support Partnership provides a free and confidential 24/7 helpline for everyone working in education on 08000 562 561.

-ends-

NOTES TO EDITORS

*Teachers, Heads of Departments and Senior Leaders

  1. Julian Stanley, Chief Executive of Education Support Partnership is available for broadcast, print or online interview. For further information contact Simon Walsh, Communications Manager via simon.walsh@edsupport.org.uk or call 07814 515984.
  2. Follow Education Support Partnership’s #HolidayBucketList for ideas on how teachers can enjoy the summer holidays - available from 26th July www.edsupport.org.uk/bucketlist
  3. Infographics of data relating to the Education Support Partnership’s summer holiday wellbeing survey will be available here www.edsupport.org.uk/summer
  4. Online research was undertaken by YouGov Plc and comprised of a survey of 811 teachers between 28/06/2018 - 09/07/2018.  The figures have been weighted and are representative of teachers in the UK by phase, region, gender and age.  (YouGov to advise whether to include the weighting information)
  5. Education Support Partnership’s 2017 annual health survey (1,250 respondents) found that the impact of heavy workloads and rapid change was taking its toll. 53% have considered leaving the sector over the past two years as a result of health pressures. With 75% citing volume of workload and seeking a better work life balance. 45% of teachers also stated that they don’t achieve the right balance between their work and their lives.  See www.edsupport.org.uk/healthsurvey
  6. Education Support Partnership’s Grants service helps currently employed or retired education staff experiencing short-term financial issues and also provides assistance with training costs for those looking to change career or re-join the education sector. See www.edsupport.org.uk/grants for more information
  7. For education organisations, Education Support Partnership provide a range of services including: