Pressure pushes two-thirds of North Somerset teachers to the brink


- Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Two-thirds of North Somerset teachers are considering leaving the profession in the next five years as they can no longer handle the ‘overwhelming workload, constant scrutiny and changes’.

Teachers from across the district said it would be ‘soul-destroying’ to leave the profession they love but many of them are working 70-hour weeks, 35 more hours than most are contracted to.

A survey created by the Times was handed out to teachers from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) who works in primary and secondary schools in North Somerset. The survey asked them basic questions about their working lives.

Of the 88 teachers who completed the survey, 58 said they are considering quitting the profession within the next five years.

One teacher is contracted to work 31-35 hours per week but works an additional 40 hours in their own time.

They said: “I have been teaching for a while and it is not the job I trained to do. It is too many hours and too much assessment.”

A part-time teacher said they spent evenings and weekends working despite working fewer than 30 hours a week.

Most Read

The survey also showed 69 of the 88 teachers are contracted to work 31-40 hours a week, however 62 said they were working additional hours in the evenings and on weekend. Some said they put in up to 30 extra hours a week.

Jon Reddiford, North Somerset’s NUT secretary, said: “The fact is with spiralling workloads exacerbated by under funding, we have an education system in crisis.

“This is bad for teachers, and what is bad for teachers is awful for children.”

Teachers who work long hours find their job takes a toll on their personal lives and health.

Government statistics show a third of new teachers who started their jobs in 2010 had left the sector five years later.

One teacher who qualified in 2011 is already considering leaving the profession.

They said: “I have been so stressed working full time – working an average 80 hours a week and by the end of three years I was burnt out, mentally and physically.”

North Somerset teachers revealed 70 per cent of teachers do not believe they are being paid fairly.

Government website Get Into Teaching showed the average teacher is paid £27,000 – with the average teacher working 60 hours a week, they are paid £9.40 an hour before tax.

Mr Reddiford said: “On top of low starting pay and little or no time for professional development, it is hardly surprising teachers are voting with their feet and leaving the profession in such large numbers.”