Learning the hard way: Teachers leaving the profession due to poor wellbeing
Nearly two thirds (65%) of teachers have considered leaving the profession due to poor wellbeing in the past.
That’s according to The Hays Education Wellbeing Report, based on a survey of 780 education professionals in October 2020. According to our findings, over two thirds (37%) of teachers have considered this in the last two years.
Those considering leaving due to poor wellbeing are unfortunately among some of the most experienced teachers, as 73% of staff who have considered leaving have been in the profession for over 20 years, and while more than 1 in 3 (38%) say that their poor wellbeing is due to the impact of Covid-19, 62% say their wellbeing has suffered due to another reason. This suggests that even before the current crisis, wellbeing was a major factor in teacher attrition.
Teachers in the dark about support on offer
The acute impact of Covid-19 has highlighted the need for more structured wellbeing improvement practices, and nearly two thirds (63%) of school leaders say that they now have a wellbeing strategy in place. Despite this however, less than half (45%) of staff are aware of such a programme in their school.
Furthermore, 43% say they find it difficult to access information about how to get wellbeing support and only 35% feel comfortable raising wellbeing concerns with their senior leadership. Less than a third (29%) say that wellbeing is openly discussed as part of day-to-day school life.
Wellbeing a necessity when attracting new teaching staff
Wellbeing is not just affecting teacher retention, it can impact the availability of new teaching talent as well. As our research shows, nearly four in five (79%) teachers say that wellbeing is very important to them when looking for a new job. This is most acute for teachers who have joined the profession in the last 1-3 years (86%).
Without structured and visible wellbeing support, in the form of training, forums and communication, schools will struggle to find the teachers they need and may even lose the teachers they have to schools or professions with better wellbeing support in place.
Paul Matthias, National Director of Hays Education, comments on the findings: “There’s no denying that this year has been immensely challenging for educational professionals, but our survey has brought to light just how much of a detrimental impact this could have on the profession. What is also noteworthy is that poor wellbeing isn’t just as a result of the pandemic, but part of the wider picture.
To the credit of employers in the sector, on the whole there are strong efforts to support teachers’ wellbeing. However, now that many schools have strategies in place, the next challenge is to make sure that staff are aware of this. Frequent, ongoing and transparent communication of wellbeing support on offer is therefore essential, particularly in recruitment materials which will help employers attract talent.”
What can be done?
The solution is simple, have a wellbeing strategy which utilises free training like our Wellbeing First package, but most importantly, communicate with your staff. Let them know that support is available, show them how to access training, encourage open and frank discourse about wellbeing and be open to suggestions about how to improve it. The power is with employers and headteachers to ensure that their staff have the tools they need to power through the Covid-19 crisis and come through happy and healthy on the other side.
Don’t learn the hard way about the importance of wellbeing to staff, sign up to our Wellbeing First package today and start assigning free wellbeing training to your staff.