Two in five (40%) of teachers have experienced excessive stress at work over the last year

11% have suffered from mental health issues other than stress over the last year, causing many to rely upon drinking or smoking to cope 

According to a new survey, 40% of teachers in the UK have reported feelings of excessive stress this year with a further 19% highlighting a lack of support from their employers.

18.5% of teachers have taken sick days off work for mental health reasons as a result, with findings showing more than one in five respondents relapsing into smoking over the last year. 

Teachers have faced unique challenges during the pandemic: struggling to engage younger children with remote learning, teaching students with inadequate IT equipment and teaching while taking care of their own children at home.

Being in close contact with so many children, who sometimes don’t understand social distancing or proper handwashing, means they are at greater risk of contracting Covid-19 than the majority of people. This pressure is beginning to pile on the industry, causing concerns that a staff shortage will place extra strain on the sector.

Inadequate support

Two in five teachers have experienced excessive stress at work over the last year. (19%) felt their employers didn’t provide the support they needed.

(7%) of workers in the industry have taken statutory sick days or unpaid leave due to mental health issues, this is more than half the number of those that took unpaid leave due to further mental health issues.

The 2021 Stress and Mental Health study asked teachers working for 67 schools in the UK about their experience of stress and mental health issues in the workplace, the cause of excessive stress in their role and the impacts on life outside of work.

Sarah Whittaker, Assistant Headteacher at Haydon Abbey School in Aylesbury, said:

“Teachers are generally feeling overwhelmed. Not with teaching itself, but with the data, paperwork and pressure that comes with it. Many schools, including mine, do everything in their power to reduce workload and stress levels within their schools. Yet, no matter what policies and procedures you have in place to support this and staff, the pressure often comes from above. The government and education sector put a lot of pressure on the school system and unfortunately, this affects the people on the ground in many ways including stress levels being heightened. Policies from schools which include making marking more manageable and planning lessons that are still engaging but limit workload help support staff members and teachers, but often the government focuses on figures and progress and not so much on the positive, engaging and safe environment a school provides, particularly after such a turbulent few years. The figures are not surprising! Ofsted is starting to realise this and have adapted their guidelines for inspections now but is this maybe too little too late for some within the industry”.

Impacts of excessive stress 

33% of teachers impacted by excessive stress were struggling to pay their bills – citing low pay in the industry as a contributing factor. Meanwhile, a quarter (25%) were struggling to cope with their ‘unmanageable’ workload.

For 23%, lack of support and bad management left employees feeling excessive levels of stress. 

Richard Holmes, Director of Wellbeing at Westfield Health, says: 

“Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Pressure at work is usually the main culprit and when budgets are tight and teams are small, people often find themselves with multiple roles and heavy workloads, piling on the stress.

Policies like turning off email servers outside of working hours help ring-fence valuable recovery time. Mental health first aid training can also help managers spot the signs or triggers and put preventions in place.”

450 UK Primary Schools Begin ‘I Can’t To I Can’ Mental Wellbeing Challenge Ahead Of Anti-Bullying Week

  • 450 UK schools start I Can’t to I Can mental wellbeing challenge on 8th November to build self-confidence, resilience and self-esteem mental ahead of Anti-Bullying Week
  • The 5-day Challenge was created as a response to anxiety pandemic amongst young people during these uncertain times
  • Half of all mental health conditions present themselves by the time a child reaches 14 but most cases remain undetected and untreated
  • I Can’t to I Can provides teachers with resources to teach simple brain hacks that can last a lifetime and turn around a child’s negative thinking within a week


The ongoing pandemic, concerns about climate change along with the endless horrific news headlines are enough for any young person to deal with. Add into the mix the normal issues of growing up magnified through the lens of social media and it’s no wonder that young people are 50% more likely to have a mental health problem than they were three years ago. 


As of 8th November, around 500 primary schools in the UK will be taking part in the RTT 5-Day ‘I Can’t to I Can’ mental wellbeing challenge. The aim is to provide children aged 7 – 10 with a series of mind hacks to help build confidence, self-esteem and resilience.  This will give them the mental stamina to cope with these challenging times and skills to support them throughout their life if they learn to practice them daily.


Available online, the free resource is based around the RTT concept of the inner cheerleader. Everyone is born with an inner cheerleader – without that driving force babies would give up after taking their first, unsuccessful attempt at anything. Sadly, the inner critic can kick in as young as 5 which is why the skills taught in ‘I Can’t to I Can’ are so critical yet take just a week to instil positive new approaches in children aged 7 to 10. 


Commenting on the challenge, Dr Sian Peer, therapist and Director of the RTT School said:


‘As a parent myself, I know how crippling anxiety can be for a young child. We wanted to share some of the incredible mental wellbeing tools that are the cornerstones of RTT to help primary school children understand and manage their emotions. The 5 Day Challenge provides teachers with a daily lesson plan over a week, each building on the learning from the previous day. There are videos, fun exercises and ideas to do at home making the whole experience interactive and memorable.’


Although most schools will participate in the challenge during the week of 8th November, the resources are going to be accessible to schools on an ongoing basis.


Schools interested can visit

OKdo partners with LEGO® Education to retail enhanced STEAM education products

OKdo, trading brand of Electrocomponents plc (LSE: ECM), a global omni-channel provider of product and service solutions, has announced partnered with LEGO® Education as an authorised reseller of LEGO® Education products in the UK.

The partnership will see OKdo offer six LEGO® Education sets initially, all of which promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) learning through play to students of all ages. Some of the initial products in the range include:

  • The LEGO® Education SPIKE™ Prime Set, an easy-to-use STEAM learning tool to help introduce creative robotics to Year 7 to Year 9 students.
  • The LEGO® Education SPIKE™ Prime Expansion Set, which makes it easy to bring students’ creative robotics ideas to life using intelligent hardware. This set combines with the SPIKE™ Prime Set and free SPIKE App to give over 10 hours of targeted STEAM learning.
  • The LEGO® Education BricQ Motion Essential Set, which introduces children aged 6+ to STEAM learning, with students able to build a robot using over 500 LEGO easy-build elements, mini-figures, gears and more.

The partnership further enhances OKdo’s STEAM education offering, following their recent research into all the benefits of bringing coding and computer science into the classroom. Their Broader Benefits of Learning to Code report found that nearly all (96%) UK primary and secondary school teachers surveyed reported seeing first-hand evidence that computer science lessons help children to develop other hard and soft skills in addition to IT abilities.

Demand for computer science talent is also skyrocketing in the UK’s booming tech sector, and OKdo’s ‘Computer Science in the Classroom’ report highlighted the importance of engaging more children in computer science while at school.

They analysed the numbers of students sitting computer science and computing courses at GCSE and undergraduate levels, and found that, while progress is being made – 79,964 students sat the GCSE Computing in 2021 compared to just 16,773 in 2014 – more work still needs to be done to engage more students in these areas at any early age, to ensure the industry can continue to grow.

Richard Curtin, SVP of Technology at OKdo, said: “Educating the next generation is at the heart of the OKdo mission. Our research has shown the importance of STEAM skills in the classroom, and we are excited and proud to have partnered with LEGO® Education as their sets will encourage more children to discover coding and help them develop confidence in STEAM learning, while also building valuable creative and critical thinking, and problem solving skills.”

For further information about the LEGO® Education products and resources available from OKdo, please visit:

Information about the complete STEM offering from OKdo is available at:

Just 1% of teachers in England feel prepared to teach politics while 72% of parents agree it’s important for children to be politically literate

An award-winning political literacy platform has revealed that only 1% of teachers feel prepared to teach politics, despite 72% of parents agreeing it’s important for children to be politically literate, in the largest study of its kind since 2010. The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Political Literacy surveyed more than 3,000 secondary school teachers and 1,500 parents of secondary school-aged children. The report discovered that 60% of teachers in England feel responsible for the development of young people’s political literacy and the majority (79%) felt as though their training did not adequately prepare them for teaching politics. Further findings revealed that independent schools are more likely to deliver political education than its maintained school counterparts. 

An award-winning political literacy platform has revealed that only 1% of teachers feel prepared to teach politics, despite 72% of parents agreeing it’s important for children to be politically literate, in the largest study of its kind since 2010. 

The report on the state of political literacy in secondary schools in England has been created by the political youth platform Shout Out UK (SOUK), the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Political Literacy and the University of Sheffield. It has been released in time for Political Literacy Day on 4th November. 

The findings revealed that six in ten (60%) teachers feel responsible for the development of young people’s political literacy and the majority (79%) felt as though their teacher training did not adequately prepare them for teaching politics.

The study also revealed that independent schools were more likely to deliver political education than its maintained school counterparts. It found that independent schools offer more of an enhanced programme of political provision outside the curriculumsuch as school trips to political institutions, political contact and active citizenship projects. The differences are starkest when compared to maintained schools in the most deprived communities. 

The report surveyed more than 3,000 secondary school teachers from a range of ages, experience, seniority levels and subjects, from 2,000 schools, as well as parents of more than 1,500 children of secondary school age.

The full report and findings from the study can be found here, below the APPG meeting minutes:

Of the three quarters (72%) of parents that agreed that it’s important for children to be taught about politics, further findings revealed that this figure has no correlation to whether the schools are independent or state. Though, the report did find a correlation between social class and earnings, and the confidence that parents have talking to their children about politics; it was discovered that parents earning more than £70,000 are twice as likely to speak to their children about political issues than those earning less than £10,000.

Additional findings include:

  • Less than a third of secondary schools are offering weekly lessons in politics or curricular citizenship education, and a fifth of schools offer no provision at all.
  • Teachers scored higher than the wider English population in a basic test of political knowledge, but less than half self-report regularly using an open classroom climate in their teaching.
  • Less than a fifth of teachers feel ‘very’ confident when teaching sensitive or controversial issues.
  • Although supportive of democratic education, half of parents retain concerns about ideological bias in the classroom. These concerns were noticeably stronger among right-wing parents.
  • When asked whether teachers impose their own political opinions on students, a significant minority of parents (39%) agreed, with 74% of those parents also believing that too many teachers are left-wing. 
  • Parents are overwhelmingly supportive of democratic education as a feature of English secondary schooling. They attribute equal importance to it alongside subjects like chemistry, history and geography as preparation for adult life in modern Britain.
  • 79% of teachers feel that their initial teacher training (ITT) and continuing professional development (CPD) have ‘not prepared them at all’ for teaching political literacy.
  • Only 31% of parents believe that the secondary curriculum, where taught, fully develops political literacy (i.e. democratic skills, knowledge and values).

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Political Literacy is holding its fourth meeting of the year on 4th November, which is also National Political Literacy Day. The group aims to ensure that all young people are politically literate by the time that they finish their secondary education.* People interested in attending the APPG on Political Literacy can register here:

Shout Out UK (SOUK) is a multi-award-winning education platform and creative social enterprise. Fusing education and tech with film production and animation ensures they create world-class programmes on Media & Political Literacy and high impact Democratic Engagement campaigns.

Matteo Bergamini, founder of Shout Out UK, said,

“Building an engaged electorate starts with comprehensive Political Literacy education. To achieve this, we need to recognise that trained confident teachers are a key part of this process. To safeguard and amplify our democracy, we must recognize the gap in our education system now. This is not only about equipping young people with the tools to be active citizens, this is about safeguarding the very fabric of our democracy”

Department of Education announce that care leavers and disadvantaged pupils are to benefit from a £126 million investment in new laptops and tablets

++ Birmingham head teacher welcomes funding for an expansion of the Get Help with Technology programme ++

Mr Alex Hughes, Principal at Ninestiles, An Academy

The Department of Education have announced that up to half a million more disadvantaged young people in England will receive new devices to support their education and help keep them connected, through a £126 million investment in the Get Help with Technology programme.

Up to 10k laptops and tablets will be made available for children with a social worker and those leaving care.  Devices will also be provided to children who have recently arrived from Afghanistan, to help them to adjust to life in a new country and support their education.

The issue of students who cannot be in the classroom due to Covid is also being addressed, as additional devices will be allocated to schools and college to distribute to those who need to continue their education at home.

Educational providers will be invited to order their allocation of devices this month and next month.  The amount allocated per school will depend on the proportion of students on free school meals and numbers of care leavers in each local authority.

Mr Alex Hughes, Principal at Ninestiles, An Academy said:

“This is a welcome announcement from the Department of Education (DfE).  The Ninestiles team are ready to work with the DfE to ensure we receive our allocated quota of laptops and tablets as soon as possible.

We know providing these will be of a great help to many of our students, especially those who have recently joined us from Afghanistan.  We want to ensure that they have everything they need to continue their education and settle into their new school.”

The National Association of Therapeutic Parents Launches Website and Resources for Schools.

The National Association of Therapeutic Parents (NAOPT) has now launched a website packed with resources for all types of schools. By supporting schools and its teaching staff, the NAOPT hopes to raise awareness of development trauma.



Children are among those most at risk when involved in a traumatic event. More common than most realise, 25% of victims of child trauma can develop into mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety and PTSD.


Distinguishing how to best help these children is the hardest element among teachers and parents. Especially keeping communication between the two, which often causes different perspectives on a child’s behaviour from a home setting compared to a school setting.




The pressure on teachers to achieve academic success within students is something the NAOTP understands, and therefore is knowledgeable about the stretch and pressure on time to keep up with both the pupils’ education and mental health. They also understand the stress parents must feel for the lack of this support, and how their child’s behaviour could be easily misinterpreted.


That was when the idea of launching the school website became reality. Designed to guide schools into an effective support system, members can access various resources on children’s mental health. These are useful for teachers who can’t seem to understand students’ behaviour, for schools who believe they’re missing a vital piece in understanding a child’s mind, or even those who wonder why pupils don’t perform as they could.


Rosie Jeffries is excited to offer schools this vital service,


“Members can access our resources to grow important knowledge of trauma within schools, and speak with like-minded professionals with our members only forum.

Not only this, it has been made possible to book counseling sessions with teachers and expert therapeutic parents to offload and gather tried and tested strategies.



The new website is designed for Nursery Schools, Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, Colleges, Virtual Schools, Forest Schools and SEN Schools.


By creating a bridge of communication between parents and teachers, behaviour can be understood more clearly, and a plan on how to support these children can be put in place.


To learn more and become a member, visit

A culture of disclosure: Why more young people are speaking out about childhood abuse

This article was written by Gabrielle Shaw, CEO, National Association for People Abused in Childhood. NAPAC is a national, UK charity offering support to adult survivors of all types of childhood abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect. 


Gabrielle has led NAPAC since April 2015, she is a senior INGO executive with over 16 years’ leadership, policy and strategic decision-making achievements across charity, government and statutory sectors. 



Over the past 18 months, the National Association for People Abused in Childhood has encountered an unprecedented and sustained increase in the number of younger survivors contacting us for support. 


With each passing week more young adults aged 18 and over are calling and emailing to speak out about the abuse they suffered as children. One in three callers to our support line is under the age of 35, up from less than one in five as of September 2019, and those aged under 25 now account for almost one in five (18%) of our website users, an 8% increase from September 2019. 


Granted, it can be difficult to evidence the average time taken to disclose childhood abuse, however, several studies conducted over the past decade indicate that it is likely between 15 and 24 years. 


The Blue Knot foundation’s research into child sexual abuse found that on average it took survivors 24 years to disclose, whilst a 2016 study from Steine et al concluded this figure to be between 17 and 24 years. Even in a relatively small cohort of 18-24 year olds, the NSPCC estimated it took more than seven years for them to speak out about sexual abuse


Though the subject matter is difficult and the statistics overwhelming, I am heartened that our data indicates survivors are disclosing earlier in life. This will enable them to work through their trauma and begin recovery at a younger age. 


But the question remains, why are we seeing this shift now? 


Below I have outlined some of the possible reasons behind the increase in young people speaking out about childhood abuse.



Lockdown: Reflection and Isolation


Devoid of the usual distractions of everyday life, lockdown for many provided a forced period of reflection. 


In the case of survivors, the prolonged period of isolation may have led to them confronting their past abuse. It is no coincidence that Bessel van der Kolk’s revolutionary book on trauma, ‘The Body Keeps the Score’ has spent the last 54 weeks on the New York Times’s bestseller list, indicating that practitioners, survivors and the general public are seeking to better understand the treatment of trauma.


As a direct result of stringent UK lockdown restrictions, between April and June 2020, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline experienced a 65% increase in calls, compared to the previous three months. It is logical then, to suggest that younger survivors still living near their abusers at this time may have felt the need to report the abuse under the strain of a sustained period sharing a home with their abuser. 


The other side of this coin is that those living away from their abusers, for example, in a university setting, will have had breathing room to reflect on past trauma, possibly with better access to support than they would have had at home. 



The kids are alright: Millennials and Gen-Z pushing mental health reform


Although often wrongly criticised for their ‘snowflake’ attitudes, over the past decade young people have contributed significantly to the creation of a culture in which mental health is openly discussed. 


Movements such as the FA’s ‘Heads up’ campaign, Young Minds’ ‘Wise Up’ campaign and the birth of the Movember foundation have made huge strides in removing the taboo around talking about mental health. Now, this ceremonial elimination of the taboo is shifting to incorporate survivors of abuse, childhood or otherwise. 


At the time of writing there are almost 55,000 testimonies from survivors on the Everyone’s Invited page. There is no doubt in my mind that the incredible work from Soma Sara, who instigated Everyone’s Invited, is one of the driving forces behind the higher rates of young adults disclosing abuse, and a positively evolving attitude to the discussion and treatment of childhood abuse. 


The increasing numbers of younger survivors disclosing abuse is a sign of progress, and though the ramifications of the lockdown and improving societal attitudes to mental health have led to increased disclosures amongst young people, there is still much work to be done in ensuring that all survivors are given the support they need.



New guide for educators in optimising independence in sixth form learning

Facet Publishing announce the publication of Facilitating Effective Sixth Form Independent Learning by Andrew K. Shenton


For young people who have opted to continue their education post-sixteen, it is difficult to overstate the importance of the independent learning which takes place in the Sixth Form. Typically, the balance between classroom teaching and independent study shifts dramatically at this point. Individuals who intend to go on to university will need strategies that will stand them in good stead for the next stage of their academic lives, in addition to serving their current needs. 


Facilitating Effective Sixth Form Independent Learning is a comprehensive guide for educators looking to support independent learning in the Sixth Form. It takes the reader on a step-by-step journey, showing how an appropriate teaching programme may be set up, and offering proven tools and strategies that can be adopted in the classroom. The book advises on how to formulate a worthwhile research question, and establishes the importance of teaching unifying methodologies, in addition to individual techniques, before various means of finding information are identified. It also faces up to the challenges experienced by many learners by introducing Shenton’s Information/Writing Interaction (IWIM) model for helping students construct essays. Further coverage includes strategies for countering plagiarism and numerous suggestions for promoting student reflection.


Described as ‘an absolute goldmine for educators’ by Dr Wendy Beautyman of the National College of Education, Shenton has emphasized the book’s timeliness. He said, ‘the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 have emphasised the importance of students’ skills in learning autonomously learning has never been so complex and challenging to the individual’.


Rigorous yet accessible and featuring numerous practical examples, Facilitating Effective Sixth Form Independent Learning is an essential resource for educators working in a world where developing independent learning skills is not an option, but essential.


Facilitating Effective Sixth Form Independent Learning: Methodologies, Methods and Tools | 9781783305582 | 288pp | September 2021 | £55 |


Andrew K. Shenton, BA (Hons), MSc, PhD, DLitt, PGCE, FCLIP, has worked at Monkseaton High School, in north-east England, for the last 17 years. Dually qualified in education and information science, he has been involved in teaching the Extended Project Qualification since its inauguration in the organisation in 2010. Andrew is a widely published specialist in the fields of information behaviour, information literacy and research methods, with over 200 publications to his name across a range of professional periodicals and peer-reviewed journals in education and LIS. On becoming a Chartered Fellow of CILIP in October 2020, Andrew gained the unusual distinction of holding both the highest academic degree in his field and the highest professional qualification.



The book is published by Facet Publishing and is available to order from Ingram Publisher Services UK | Tel: +44 (0)1572 202301| Fax: +44 (0)1752 202333 | Email: sends e-mail) | Web: | Mailing Address: Ingram Publisher Services UK, 10 Thornbury Road, Plymouth, PL6 7PP |  It will be available in North America from the American Library Association.






The beauty of sport is the opportunity it gives the educator to support all round whole-person development, which includes but is not limited to the promotion of physical health.


The accepted narrative that PE is all about physical activity in primary schools is a narrow one, as it underestimates the full spectrum of learning opportunities that PE has to offer. Broadening understanding and introducing sport psychology into PE frameworks has the capacity to develop greater self-confidence and transform how pupils see themselves in and outside of sport giving them invaluable tools they can apply throughout life.



Athletes recognise the value of mindset in training and performance, learning and adopting psychological skills to reach their full potential. Evidence from sport psychology literature confirms and supports the integration of psychological skills for children aged 7-11.


Including psychological outcomes is an approach teachers can adopt in addition to physical outcomes providing a valuable contribution to other areas of development:

Cognitive development – decision-making, problem-solving, organising, effective thinking.

Social Awareness – communication, sharing and understanding, working in a group, managing conflict.


Emotional development – Enhancing confidence, self-awareness, motivation, self-compassion.


School Sport Psychology (SSP) is a series of 20 short fun animated videos each less than 5 minutes long consisting of 5 modules MIND, DRIVE, COMMUNICATION, EMOTIONS and ME. It is the brain child of Helen Davis a qualified sports psychologist  and a teacher with 25 years experience and Liz Barker a former Blue Peter presenter who participated in high pressured sports events and interviewed many stars of the sporting world during her 6 years on the programme. They both believe passionately that every child can ‘think better, be better’ 

Each video highlights an area to focus on and practise and a psychological challenge is given at the end to try in the lesson, there are accompanying teacher notes to encourage discussion. The videos can be shown multiple times and can run alongside PSHE lessons.

The response from pupils, teachers, parents, and educators has been overwhelmingly in favour when trialled nationally.

“We need SSP at the moment, now more than ever, it is vital”.

“We would love primary PE teachers to think differently and incorporate sport psychology into primary PE offering pupils life and learning skills mirrored by those in elite sport so that the holistic nature of PE is not neglected.”

“School Sport Psychology is a very powerful tool for PE,”

“I think it’s really important and valuable to teach psychology to children at this age, it’s helps them to learn who they are” 


“School Sport Psychology is a great way for children to think about themselves and for their lives in general.  The earlier you start the better it is”


“We have used the messages from the videos in other contexts too.  By looking at things psychologically, the children are thinking carefully about what part they or others can play”

“Having a psychological outcome gave our PE lessons a solid beginning, middle and end. The children went out with a specific goal and achieved a sense of pride when they achieved it, it gave them something tangible to achieve in the lesson”


“Having the psychological challenges for the children felt the lesson was less fractured. With the pandemic and everything going on some children have sat back – and it’s given us the opportunity to discuss feelings, feel more positive, we’ve had a higher level of engagement and it’s made a noticeable and massive improvement to them”


“The difference in confidence is huge”


“There are lasting skills here for children to learn”


If you would like to learn more about sport psychology and the part it can play in PE, information, testimonials, and a sample video are available on the website

BE the change