Health Survey 2017

The mental health and wellbeing of
education professionals in the UK
The charity for everyone
working in education
A report from YouGov
commissioned by
Education Support
Partnership
63 POE180331 Health and Wellbeing Report FINAL.indd 1
09/11/2017 20:51
2
Table of Contents
Foreword ......................................................3
Executive Summary ...................................4
About the survey ........................................6
Section 1: Current picture of mental
health and wellbeing amongst
education professionals ...........................7
Long working hours are a reality in the
education profession .......................................9
Work–life balance appears hard to achieve
in the education profession .........................10
Education professionals experience a range
of physical and mental health issues due
to work .............................................................10
Education professionals’ mental health:
self-defined .....................................................15
Section 2: Impacts upon professional
and personal lives
....................................17
Social and professional impact of
experiencing psychological, physical
or behavioural problems as a result
of work ..............................................................19
The direct impact on students of education
professionals experiencing mental health
issues as a result of work ..............................20
Health pressures are related to professionals
considering leaving the sector ....................20
Section 3: Causes .....................................23
Work plays a strong role contributing to
poor mental health and wellbeing in the
education sector .............................................24
The culture of working long hours and not
being able to switch off is strongly linked
with experiencing a negative work–life
balance ..............................................................27
Section 4: Support in the workplace ...29
What support do education professionals
access? ...............................................................30
Are education professionals suffering in
silence? .............................................................31
Education professionals are not confident
in disclosing issues to their employer .......32
Education professionals feel they need
more support on mental health and
wellbeing issues ..............................................34
Implementation of health and wellbeing
policies is inconsistent ..................................36
What do education professionals feel would
be most beneficial in improving the overall
mental health of the workforce? ...............37
Conclusions and recommendations ....39
Appendix A ................................................41
Method ..............................................................41
Sample profile .................................................42
63 POE180331 Health and Wellbeing Report FINAL.indd 2
09/11/2017 20:51
3

Foreword

We’re proud to have commissioned this survey, the first of its kind
which presents a robust, comprehensive picture of the current mental
health and wellbeing of education professionals throughout the UK.
As the charity here to support all in the sector, we understand
the demands of working in education but we also know from
our experience what a positive impact the right support to both
individuals and organisations can make. Not only can this unique
profession offer incredibly high levels of job satisfaction, it is also
increasingly pressurised which is clearly having a detrimental impact
on countless individuals.
As a society, the need for clear measures that protect the wellbeing
and mental health of all has never appeared more urgent. In education,
it would appear acute. For many of the 1,250 education professionals
who responded to this survey, the impact of extremely heavy
workloads and rapid change is clearly taking its toll, impacting on the
health and the ability of significant numbers to perform at their best,
feeding the growing recruitment and retention crisis. The scale of the
problem is sadly all-too-familiar to our helpline counsellors. They hear
daily from those for whom the demands of ever-greater accountability,
a growing testing culture and monitoring are becoming too much and
deal with thousands of calls every year.
All too often, individuals contact us when it’s too late and are already
in crisis. But getting the right help at the right time is often the key
step to improvement and we have seen time and again that getting
this right for individuals and organisations does deliver positive,
tangible changes for all; Healthier, happier and more productive staff,
leaders and workplaces and in turn healthier, happier students, also
better placed to be at their best.
I hope you will read these report findings and our recommendations
with interest.
Julian Stanley, CEO Education Support Partnership
63 POE180331 Health and Wellbeing Report FINAL.indd 3
09/11/2017 20:51
4
Executive Summary
A majority of education professionals disclose
that they have faced physical and mental health
issues which they attribute to their work.
Overall,
three quarters of the profession (75%) report
experiencing behavioural, psychological or
physical symptoms where work was a contributing
factor, and this is significantly higher than for the
UK working population overall, among whom 62%
have experienced at least one of these.
Many education professionals report high levels
of work stress
, with nearly a third (29%) saying
that their job has made them feel stressed most or
all of the time in the past few weeks. This is also
much higher than among the UK workforce, where
only 18% report these levels of stress.
Nearly half of education professionals feel they
do not achieve the right balance between their
work and home lives
, with 45% stating this.
In comparison with the public sector overall,
education professionals are significantly less
likely to feel they achieve this balance. The public
sector overall achieves a positive score of +32
when subtracting the proportion who disagree
from the proportion who agree that they achieve
the right balance, while this figure is -10 for
education professionals.
When education professionals experience mental
health issues this has an impact on their work
and personal lives
. Half of those who experienced
psychological, physical or behavioural problems
as a result of work say that their work performance
suffered (49%) and a sizeable minority (28%) had
to take time off work. Close to half (47%) also
report that their personal relationships suffered.

75%

53%

75%

surveyed said they have
faced physical and mental
health issues in the last two
years because of their work.
Half have considered
leaving the sector
over the past two
years as a result of
health pressures.
The main reasons given are volume of workload
and seeking a better work-life balance.
A third said that their job has made them
feel stressed most or all of the time in
the past few weeks, compared to 18% of
the UK workforce overall.

29%

18
%
1
CIPD (2017) Employee Outlook Spring 2017
63 POE180331 Health and Wellbeing Report FINAL.indd 4
09/11/2017 20:51
5
Half of the education profession (53%) have
considered leaving the education sector over the
past two years as a result of health pressures
and
the biggest reasons given are volume of workload
and seeking a better work–life balance.
Students can be impacted by education
professionals’ mental health issues as well
.
A third (36%) of education professionals who
have experienced behavioural, psychological or
physical symptoms as a result of work feel it had
a negative impact on their students’ studies, and
13% a negative impact on their results.
Among education professionals who describe
their current mental health as poor, the vast
majority (86%) partially or fully attribute this to
problems at work
, with workload and work–life
balance emerging as the top two causes.
A fifth of education professionals who have
experienced these psychological, physical or
behavioural problems did not speak to anyone
about it
, and the top reason given for not
speaking to someone at work about these issues
was that it would be seen as a sign of weakness
(31%). Furthermore, a majority of all education
professionals (64%) say they would not be
confident in disclosing unmanageable stress or
mental health problems to their employer.
Close to half of education professionals (45%)
feel that their organisation does not support
people who experience mental health problems
well
, and within the schools sector those from
the secondary phase are more likely than those
from the primary phase to feel this way (51%
compared with 41%).
The majority of education professionals do not
feel that they receive sufficient guidance about
their health and wellbeing at work
. Seven out of
ten (72%) professionals report this, indicating
the need for greater information and guidance on
health and wellbeing across the sector.

50%

36%

said they had experienced depression,
anxiety or panic attacks due to work.
Close to half feel
that their organisation
does not support
people who experience
mental health
problems well.
would not feel
confident in
disclosing mental
health problems or
unmanageable stress
to their employer.
A third of those
who said they had
experienced problems said they
feel it had a negative impact on
their student’s studies.

45%

64%

of people working in
education do not feel that
they receive sufficient
guidance about their health
and wellbeing at work.

72%

63 POE180331 Health and Wellbeing Report FINAL.indd 5
09/11/2017 20:51
6
This report, commissioned by Education Support
Partnership is the first of its kind to explore mental
health and wellbeing specifically across the sector,
revealing the scale of problems consistently raised by
the thousands we support. It presents the key findings
from a survey of 1,250 education professionals that is
representative of the whole sector through providing
coverage across schools, Further Education (FE) and
Higher Education (HE). The sample covers all job roles
within the education profession providing insights
from senior leaders through to support staff working
in the sector.
The survey covers the impacts on personal and
professional lives of those experiencing mental health
pressures and poor wellbeing, investigates the causes of
issues and what practical measures can be leveraged to
provide support to the sector.
The research was undertaken by YouGov and was
conducted online during a two-week period in June
2017 (9th to 23rd). Please see Appendix A for a detailed
profile of the achieved sample. The findings throughout
are presented in the form of percentages which display
the view of the education sector. The findings are
presented on the basis of all education professionals
surveyed, and where there are statistically significant
differences between demographic groups these are
discussed in more detail.
A number of the questions asked in this research have
previously been used in other published studies. Where
relevant we have contrasted the figures in this report
for education professionals with those achieved in other
studies. These have been fully referenced.
Additional content has been provided in this report by
the Education Support Partnership in the form of case
study content. These have been added through the
report to add context to the survey findings.
About the survey
63 POE180331 Health and Wellbeing Report FINAL.indd 6
09/11/2017 20:51
7
Section 1:
Current picture of mental
health and wellbeing
amongst education
professionals
63 POE180331 Health and Wellbeing Report FINAL.indd 7
09/11/2017 20:51
8
1.1 The first section of this report sets the scene,
looking at the symptoms and pressures education
professionals are experiencing in connection
with work.
1.2 Many education professionals report high
levels of work stress. Nearly a third (29%) say that
their job has made them feel stressed most or
all of the time in the past few weeks, while close
to two thirds (64%) report that it’s made them
feel this way some of the time or occasionally.
Only 7% say their job has never made them feel
stressed in recent weeks.
1.3 Among senior leaders, the proportion who
have felt stressed most or all of the time in the
past few weeks rises to 37%.
1.4 Similarly, when thinking generally about
the ongoing level of stress they experience
from working, two thirds (66%) of education
professionals say that they tend to feel stressed.
Within that group, 15% currently feel very
stressed and 51% somewhat stressed due
to work.
In comparison with the UK workforce
as a whole, education professionals
surveyed here are significantly more
likely to say they felt stressed most or
all of the time in the past few weeks,
with 29% reporting this compared with
18% of UK employees.
Source: CIPD (2017)
Employee Outlook Spring 2017
32%
7%
4%
32%
25%
S
o
m
e
of
t
h
e
t
im
e
Oc
c
a
s
io
n
a
l
ly
M
o
s
t
of
t
h
e
t
im
e
Ne
v
e
r
A
ll
of
t
h
e
t
im
e
29%
75%
45%
32%
have felt stressed most
or all of the time in the
past few weeks
have experienced behavioural,
psychological or physical
symptoms due to work
don’t achieve the right
balance between their
home and work lives
work 51+ hours in an
average week
63 POE180331 Health and Wellbeing Report FINAL.indd 8
09/11/2017 20:51
9
1.5 Meanwhile, the remaining third (34%) of
education professionals report that they do not
currently feel very stressed from working (26%)
or in fact not stressed at all (7%).
1.6 Among senior leaders, the proportion who feel
stressed from working rises to 76%, significantly
higher than among school teachers (67%).
1.7 Those with the longest number of years
of service are most likely to report low levels
of stress, with 53% of those with 31+ years of
service saying they do not feel stressed compared
with 30% of those with just 1-5 years.
Long working hours are a reality in
the education profession
1.8 The levels of stress education professionals
are experiencing could be tied closely to the
long hours they work. A third of education
professionals’ work more than 51 hours a
week on average. More than half of education
professionals (56%) report that on average they
work 41+ hours a week.
1.9 This figure rises steeply among senior
leaders, with virtually all (92%) working 41+
hours in an average week and two-thirds (66%)
working more than 51 hours a week.
1.10 Those with fewer years of service are more
likely than people with longer tenure in the
profession to be working 41+ hours a week –
this is the case for 57% of those with 1-20 years’
service in comparison with 50% of those with
21+ years.
1.11 Otherwise, roughly a third of education
professionals (36%) report working 21-40 hours a
week on average, and 9% say they typically work
less than 20 hours.
These survey findings indicate that education
professionals are working more hours than
the UK workforce overall. In 2017, 17% of
employees in the UK worked more than 45
hours per week. Comparativley, 32% of
education professionals report working more
than 51 hours in an average week.
Source: ONS (2017)
Labour Market Statistics, August 2017
Base: All education professionals (n=1,250); Senior leaders
(n=254); School teachers (n=595); Lecturers/Professors (n=189)
Figure 2: Current level of stress felt from working
Base: All education professionals (n=1,250); Senior leaders
(n=254); School teachers (n=595); Lecturers/Professors (n=189)
Figure 3: Average number of hours worked a week
A
ll
S
e
n
io
r
L
e
a
d
e
r
S
c
h
o
o
l
Te
a
c
h
e
r
L
e
c
t
u
re
r
/
Pr
of
es
s
o
r
Ve
r
y
/s
o
m
ew
h
a
t
s
t
re
ss
e
d
N
o
t
ve
r
y
/n
o
t
a
t
a
ll
s
t
re
ss
e
d
34%
24%
32%
29%
66%
76%
67%
70%
A
ll
S
e
n
io
r
L
e
a
d
e
r
S
c
h
o
o
l
Te
a
c
h
e
r
L
e
c
t
u
re
r
/
Pr
of
es
s
o
r
L
e
ss
t
h
a
n
2
0
2
1
-
4
0
4
1
-
5
0
5
0
+
32%
66%
32%
23%
9%
6%
2%
9%
6%
36%
37%
39%
24%
26%
22%
32%
63 POE180331 Health and Wellbeing Report FINAL.indd 9
09/11/2017 20:51