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Teacher Wellbeing Index 2022: record numbers plan to leave profession as mental health suffers

 

Record numbers of UK teachers and education staff have considered leaving the sector in the past academic year due to pressures on their mental health and wellbeing. Over half of this group have actively sought to change or leave their current jobs, citing workload as the main factor:

  • 59% of staff have considered leaving the sector in the past academic year due to pressures on their mental health and wellbeing (67% senior leaders, 59% schoolteachers)
  • 55% of those who have considered leaving have actively sought to change or leave their current jobs (58% senior leaders, 53% schoolteachers)
  • 68% of staff who have considered leaving cited volume of workload as the main reason for thinking about leaving their jobs (83% senior leaders, 66% schoolteachers)

 

The findings, part of the 2022 , conducted annually by the charity Education Support in conjunction with YouGov showed that overall, stress levels have increased when compared to 2021. Staff working in education also continue to experience higher levels of depression and anxiety than those reported in the general population.

  • 75% of all staff are stressed (84% of senior leaders, 72% of schoolteachers)
  • 47% of all staff always go into work when unwell (61% of senior leaders, 45% of schoolteachers)
  • 78% of all staff experienced mental health symptoms due to their work (87% senior leaders, 76% schoolteachers)

The sector has been further hit by the cost-of-living crisis with school leaders warning of “catastrophic” measures they will be forced to take this winder – including restricting heating in classrooms and cutting staff. [1] 

 

Matt Quigley, Headteacher said:

 

 “This report correlates directly with my current experience as a school leader. Stress, anxiety and depression are prevalent amongst staff; funding cuts really aren’t helping with me having to ask staff to give even more when they’re already on their knees; it is reasonable to expect that this would then negatively impact on the long-term health and well-being of staff; and, despite working really hard over the last few years – with the challenges we have all faced – in order to create a ‘compassionate culture’ amongst our staff, even for a great staff like ours we are all starting to fray at the edges. This way of working simply isn’t sustainable for much longer and some wide-ranging changes need to be made.”

 

 Commenting on this year’s Index, Sinéad Mc Brearty, CEO of Education Support said:

 

“These findings paint a grave picture for the future of education. The Prime Minister has made clear his commitment to growth and the skills agenda, but the reality of the education workforce crisis will not magic itself away. No-one has sought to create this situation, but these chronic, entrenched dynamics around workload, stress and mental ill health will limit our national ambition for a generation. We are witnessing the slow disintegration of the workforce.”  

“Whilst these data make difficult reading for everyone involved in trying to make the system the best it can be, the simple fact is that we are failing.  Our children and young people deserve so much more from us. It is time to invest in the workforce and to remove the well documented drivers of significant stress in the system.”

To download a full copy of the report, including conclusions and recommendations visit Education Support’s website.

Kooth partners with GLUU to help support the mental health of whole school communities

 

Kooth has partnered with GLUU to provide schools with askOLA, the online tutoring and support platform, with invaluable digital mental health support. 

 

Kooth will ensure students aged 10+, all teachers, teaching support staff and on-site staff have a safe, confidential and welcoming place to seek non-judgemental mental health support. The collaboration is the first of its kind, enabling education establishments to purchase online learning resources and wellbeing together in one accessible and flexible package. 

 

askOLA is a responsive, online tutoring and support platform that provides homework help, writing feedback, and study support on-demand, during and beyond school hours. It selected Kooth for its holistic approach to mental health and wellbeing, and its ability to look after the whole school community.

 

Kooth’s innovative digital mental health and wellbeing platform has been designed to offer choice and encourage users to engage and seek help on their own terms. As such, it offers access to a variety of support options including online counselling and wellbeing, via its Kooth.com (aged 10+) and Qwell.io (aged 18+) services 

 

Services are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week – this includes one-to-one text based sessions with experienced counsellors and wellbeing practitioners. Running from midday to 10pm on weekdays and from 6pm to 10pm on the weekend, appointments can be booked in advance or accessed via a drop-in text-based chat. They are available without waiting lists or thresholds to meet, and a referral from a medical professional is not needed. In addition, Kooth provides an easily accessible, fully safeguarded and pre-moderated community with a library of peer and professional created content.  

 

It doesn’t end there, Kooth’s Flourish Mental Health Check runs alongside the award-winning anonymous digital mental health platform. A benchmark tool, unlike others, the Flourish Mental Health Check is based on the ‘whole self’. As such it recognises that home life and past experiences play an important part in people’s wellbeing at work. 

 

The anonymous insights are garnered from the teachers, teaching support staff and on-site staff only, not the students. The Kooth Work Flourish Mental Health Check will help the schools signed up to the askOLA platform to identify priority issues when it comes to the mental health and wellbeing of all those working at the school – both teaching and support roles.

 

This will help them to invest in the right initiatives, as well as developing and implementing new policies, practices and support programmes, that meet the needs of the school as an employer. This will aid in the creation of a mentally healthy workplace where everyone can flourish and no one is left behind. 

 

Dr Lynne Green, Chief Clinical Office at Kooth, commented: 

 

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with GLUU and its askOLA platform to help ensure that anonymous, safe and accessible positive mental health and emotional wellbeing is available to whole school communities. Now more than ever, it’s important to ensure that both students, teachers and the onsite support teams have a choice of safe and confidential options that match with their individual needs, as well as being accessible in a way they feel comfortable with. Digital mental health services such as Kooth do that, and can help to reduce the stigma often associated with mental health.  However big or small a student or teacher believes a mental health concern or issue is, Kooth Work is onhand to help them, when and where needed.”

 

Christine Major, CEO at GLUU explained:

 

“askOLA was developed to add capacity to schools to reduce teacher workload and support the wellbeing and attainment of the whole school community. Teachers need more time to help pupils to thrive, and askOLA gives them another pair of hands by helping to support learning and wellbeing in and outside of the classroom. It means that students can access subject-specialist coaches on-demand to help overcome issues with their learning, or they can be connected to Kooth for support with their mental health. We also provide all school staff with access to mental health support through Qwell.

 

She added: “Partnering with Kooth was a logical choice as our values are closely aligned, as like us they believe that mental health support should be accessible to everyone”

 

Kooth is the only digital mental health provider to hold a UK-wide accreditation from the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). It is available to school’s with the askOLA platform immediately, once registered, they can access support via any internet-connected device such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet. 

 

Study shows surprise improvement in wellbeing for thousands of special needs pupils, bucking overall trend of deteriorating mental health

New figures published today reveal that while young people’s wellbeing has deteriorated alarmingly since the pandemic, it has unexpectedly improved significantly for thousands of students with special needs.

 

A study of almost 11,000 students in 52 mainstream state secondary schools across the UK has found that despite the pandemic adversely affecting the vast majority of young people, far fewer pupils with special needs can be classed as “at social and emotional risk” now, compared with before the pandemic.

 

This bucks the trend for young people overall, tens of thousands of whom have experienced a serious decline in their wellbeing since the end of lockdown.

 

The study, by young people’s mental health experts STEER Education, found that before the pandemic, an estimated one in five students with special needs could be classed as “at social and emotional risk”.

 

Between the end of the pandemic and this July, this fell to just under one in six. This means that across the country, the equivalent of more than 8,000 students are no longer “at social and emotional risk”. The study counted students with special needs as those with an Education and Health Care Plan – a guarantee of statutory support.

 

In sharp contrast, the findings show that the wellbeing of young people without special needs has dramatically deteriorated in the same period, something the study suggests is the result of the detrimental impact of prolonged school closures.

 

Before the pandemic, one in six students without special needs could be deemed to be “at social and emotional risk”. As recently as July this year, this rose to almost one in four – 24% – the equivalent of nearly 400,000 more students.

 

The study shows that during lockdown many thousands of special needs pupils honed skills that make them more able to cope with the emotional ups and downs of life. Many gained confidence in adapting to change, grew more resilient and developed a healthier approach to trusting others, the study found. 

 

The study’s authors say that while many of these young people may have found the pandemic challenging, the social-emotional skills they have gained will lead to marked improvement in the wellbeing of special needs pupils. They argue that this is largely the result of the specific approach taken by schools to support these pupils.

 

It is well known that many special needs pupils find busy classrooms detrimental to their wellbeing. While the overall experience of lockdown was extremely difficult for all students, many of those with special needs found it easier to both be in school with fewer students and to at least partly study at home. 

 

They also appeared to greatly benefit from increased teacher-pupil ratios, access to devices for online learning and regular calls from school staff to make sure they were coping as well as possible. The combination of these factors – and others – are likely to have had a strikingly positive effect on their wellbeing, the study’s authors say.

 

Before the pandemic, one in seven young people with special needs had significant difficulty trusting other people, according to the study. Over the last few months, this has fallen to just one in nine. These young people are also now better able to adapt to changing circumstances in their lives. Before the pandemic, one in seven young people with special needs struggled to adapt to change, but over the last few months, this has also fallen to one in nine. 

 

Worryingly, the opposite is the case for students without special needs.

 

Before the pandemic, about one in eight young people without special needs had difficulty trusting other people, according to the study. Over the last few months, this has risen to one in five. The same goes for those able to adapt to changing circumstances in their lives. Before the pandemic, one in ten young people without special needs struggled to adapt to change, according to the study. Over the last few months, this has risen to one in six. This means they may seek help less frequently and be more prone to perfectionism and anxiety.

 

The study analysed the responses of 10,942 secondary school students to 48,890 assessments of their wellbeing. The assessments took place before the pandemic, during it and over this summer. The results from all three periods were compared. Rather than measure a pupil’s own perception of their wellbeing, the assessments measure underlying patterns in a young person’s wellbeing by analysing their ability to adjust to different social-emotional situations and interactions.

 

Students described as those with special needs – 6% of the study’s overall sample – are those with Education and Health Care Plans (EHCPs). EHCPs give a young person a statutory right to support for their special needs or disabilities. The latest government figures show that at least 4% of students in primary and secondary schools in England have an EHCP so the schools sampled in this study may have a marginally higher proportion of students with special needs. 

 

Simon Antwis, a former headteacher and school inspector who is STEER Education’s Senior Business Development Consultant, said:

 

“These findings give us unexpectedly good news – the wellbeing of students with special needs is improving. Huge credit should go to all school staff who work with these students.

 

“However, the study also shows that while schools have done their very best, overall the wellbeing of many students continues to decline. Schools need to make sure they are aware of as many students as possible who need support. 

 

“Too many use student voice tools, such as online surveys and chat hubs, which only detect a proportion of those students who need support. These tools fail to support the ‘hidden middle’ – those who may be showing early signs of self-harm, bullying, anxiety and unhealthy self-control.”

 

Tania Mayes, who is responsible for special needs at a secondary school in Devon, said: 

 

“This study reveals what is happening in many secondary schools up and down the country. 

 

“In the aftermath of the pandemic, schools have understood much more about the individual requirements of their students with special needs and their relationship with them – and their families – is closer. 

 

“However, if we are to continue to see a sustained improvement in the wellbeing of these students, schools will need to have smaller waiting lists for external providers and additional funding.”

 

 

About STEER Education

 

STEER Education offers a unique online assessment tool to schools which alerts them to students who may have emerging mental health risks, but are not showing visible signs of vulnerability. 

 

Our sophisticated online assessment measures and tracks early signs that students may have unhealthy thoughts about themselves and others. It also helps identify students who may be hiding safeguarding concerns, whether in school, outside it or both. Schools assess students twice or three times a year.

 

We give schools guidance, tailored to each student, so that they can act early and, where possible, prevent problems escalating. Since 2016, we have tracked and supported at least 150,000 students in over 250 primary and secondary schools across the state and independent sector. These include leading MATs, specialist schools and elite sports academies. Our team is made up of teachers and mental health experts who understand the challenges and rewards of working with students from a wide range of backgrounds and schools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seckford Education Trust and Springwell School partner with Kooth Work to support employee mental health

Seckford Education Trust and Springwell School have become the latest educational establishments to partner with Kooth Work to support the mental health and wellbeing of employees. 

 

Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Kooth Work will provide access to online counselling and wellbeing support when and where they need it.

 

Seckford Education Trust is a multi-academy trust running primary and secondary schools across Suffolk and East Anglia. Southampton based Springwell is a primary school for children aged 4 – 11 years with complex learning difficulties. Both selected Kooth Work for its holistic approach to mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. 

 

Kooth Work provides employees with a safe, confidential and welcoming place to access early intervention and non-judgemental mental health support. For both organisations this includes all teachers, teaching support staff, on-site staff and governors. For Springwell School, Kooth Work will also be made available to the partners of employees or one family member aged 18+.

 

Kooth Work offers a digital mental health platform that allows employees to book one-to-one text based sessions with experienced counsellors and wellbeing practitioners via anonymous chat. They are accessible without waitlists or thresholds to meet. In addition, Kooth Work provides an easily accessible, fully safeguarded and pre-moderated community with a library of peer and professional created content.  

 

Kooth Work’s Flourish Mental Health Check runs alongside the award-winning anonymous digital mental health platform. It is a benchmark tool that, unlike others, is based on the ‘whole self’, and recognises that home life and past experiences play an important part in people’s wellbeing at work. 

 

The anonymous insights garnered from the Flourish Mental Health Check will help Seckford Education Trust, and Springwell School identify priority issues, ensuring that they invest in the right initiatives, as well as developing and implementing new policies, practises and support programmes, that meet the needs of all staff. This will aid in the creation of a mentally healthy workplace where everyone can flourish and no one is left behind. 

 

Kooth Work will help Seckford Education Trust, and Springwell School with the retention and recruitment of new staff, positioning both as an ‘employee of choice’. 

 

Dr Lynne Green, Chief Clinical Office at Kooth Work, commented: 

 

“Seckford Education Trust and Springwell School are leading the way in the education sector with their mission to promote positive mental health and emotional wellbeing within their schools. It’s not often easy for those working in the education sector – be it teaching or support staff – to ask for help and reach out for support with mental health and wellbeing concerns at work. This is why it is extremely important for multi-academy trusts and schools to both check-in and proactively support the mental wellbeing of their workforce.

 

“Digital mental health services can help to reduce the stigma often associated with mental health. Our Kooth Work offering does this by providing people with a choice of safe and confidential options that match with their individual needs, as well as being accessible in a way they feel comfortable with. We are looking forward to supporting everyone in their community of schools; from teachers, staff and governors, to pupils and their families with any mental health concern. However big or small the issue, Kooth Work is available to help when and where it is needed”

 

Mark Barrow, CEO at Seckford Education Trust explained:

 

“At Seckford Education Trust, we understand the pressures that our talented team faces both in and outside of work. To ensure all staff have access to the support they need, we wanted to partner with a mental health and wellbeing service that truly understood their needs. Kooth does this and will enable us to make sure that our staff members have the tools at their fingertips to help them maintain good mental health. We encourage everyone across our community to sign up to the service.”

 

Lisa Needham and Maria Burrows, Co-Headteachers at Springwell School added: 

 

“Our decision to commission Kooth Work at Springwell School is based on our underlying premise that a positive, caring ethos and environment, where staff are listened to and feel supported and appreciated will have a significant impact on the wellbeing of staff and, most importantly, the children. We recognise that, when wellbeing and mental health are prioritised  school staff have the potential to flourish and Kooth Work provides a safe and secure means of accessing support from a professional team of qualified counsellors.”  

 

Kooth Work is the only digital mental health provider to hold a UK-wide accreditation from the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). It is available to Seckford Education Trust and Springwell School  employees immediately, once registered, they can access the platform via any internet-connected device such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet. 

 

Leicester School Marks Mental Health Awareness Week

Pupils at a Leicester primary school have been learning how to support their wellbeing and self-esteem ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week.

Elizabeth Woodville Primary School in Groby has been hosting special lessons and activities to mark the event using Discovery Education Health and Relationships – a digital programme which teaches children about healthy and happy relationships, and gives them the skills they need to look after their physical and mental health.

Organised by the Mental Health Foundation charity, Mental Health Awareness Week (9 to 15 May 2022) is an annual, nationwide event which encourages people to focus on achieving good mental health.  The theme of this year’s event is ‘Loneliness’, and it’s hoped that the campaign will shine a light on the mental health impact of the pandemic.

Year 5 pupils at Elizabeth Woodville Primary School began their Mental Health Awareness Week lessons by learning about the importance of self-image and self-respect. Using digital resources from Discovery Education, they explored how the way in which we see ourselves can affect our feelings and behaviour.

 

Inspired by this, the children took part in a lively discussion about the benefits of positive self-image and how this can improve their health and wellbeing. The children enjoyed debating and sharing their ideas. One of the pupils said, “It was good to hear what other people wanted to say and sometimes I changed my mind too!”

 

The class then produced some beautiful written work on the theme of self-esteem, in which they listed the things that they are good at and highlighted the achievements they are most proud of.

 

Helen Taylor, Year 5 teacher at Elizabeth Woodville Primary School said:

 

“Given the difficulties and challenges faced by children of all ages within the last two years, caring for their mental health has never been more important. At Elizabeth Woodville Primary School, we take our responsibility to promote and improve the mental health of our pupils very seriously. Discovery Education’s Health and Relationships programme has allowed us to teach the importance of a positive mentality, self-image and self-respect in a clear, interesting and age-appropriate way. Every lesson enables discussion and debate and the children learn from each other as much as from the teaching.”

 

Featuring a variety of engaging digital content including videos, activities and complete lesson plans, Discovery Education Health and Relationships helps children to learn about mental health and relationships in a safe and supportive environment. The resources, which support teachers to deliver the primary RSHE curriculum, are centred around child-led videos and animations to help pupils relate to the subject and encourage them to take part in discussions.

 

“Discovery Education is proud to support Elizabeth Woodville Primary School as they teach their pupils about the importance of good mental health” said Howard Lewis, Discovery Education Managing Director UK and International. “Providing pupils with engaging opportunities to learn about wellbeing is so important, and we are glad to offer teachers the materials to do so.”

 

For more information about Discovery Education’s digital resources and professional learning services, visit www.discoveryeducation.co.uk and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

 

ENDS

Responding to the mental health crisis: 97% of UK schools now providing pupil mental health support but one in 10 teachers feel poorly equipped

       

  • Teachers have witnessed a rise in pupil anxiety, stress and depression since the pandemic
  • Two thirds more concerned about managing mental health and wellbeing of pupils
  • Half of teachers want the government to provide a national counselling service for school children

 

New research1 from specialist education insurer Ecclesiastical has revealed the majority of schools (97%) are providing support for pupils struggling with their mental health. Despite this, one in eight (12%) teachers admit to feeling poorly equipped to support pupils with mental health issues.

 

Increase in pupil mental health issues since the pandemic

 

The pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues in the education sector, and schools have witnessed an increase in pupil anxiety (56%), stress (54%) and depression (46%).

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, two thirds (66%) of teachers are now more concerned about managing the mental health and wellbeing of pupils as a result of the pandemic.

 

Contributing factors

 

The biggest contributors to poor student mental health are a dysfunctional home life (34%), isolation during Covid lockdowns (33%) and falling behind due to the pandemic.

 

The research also identified a peak2 in pupil mental health issues at age 11 – a turbulent time for some pupils as they transition from primary to secondary schools.

 

Supporting pupils with mental health issues

 

Additional training for staff (44%), regular lessons on mental health issues (43%), staff members with counselling responsibility (41%) and a dedicated mental health professional (41%) are the top ways schools are supporting pupils with mental health issues. Only 3% of schools don’t provide any mental health support for students.

 

For example, Hardingstone Academy3 in Northampton worked with a team from St Andrew’s Healthcare as part of its School Mental Wellness Programme. The St Andrew’s team worked closely with the school over 18 months, providing staff training and ideas for whole school mental health and wellbeing strategies and practice.

 

Despite the majority of schools providing mental health support for pupils, one in eight (12%) teachers reported feeling poorly equipped to support pupils with mental health issues.

 

Teachers think the government should be doing more to support students with mental health including more funding (51%), a national approach to mental health (50%), and a national counselling service for school children (49%).

 

The Teachers’ Union NASUWT4 is campaigning for the UK Government to secure statutory provision of schools-based counselling in every primary and secondary school in England. Unlike in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, there is currently no legal requirement for school-based counselling in England.

 

Faith Kitchen, Customer Segment Director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “As one of the leading insurers of schools in the UK, Ecclesiastical is passionate about supporting the education sector. The pandemic has put a huge pressure on schools and the mental health of pupils is a key risk for teachers and staff to manage. While it’s encouraging to see most schools are providing mental health support for pupils, some teachers feel poorly equipped to support pupils with mental health issues. The pandemic has created new risks for schools and seriously exacerbated existing challenges in the sector. We encourage schools to think about the risks they may face and how best to protect their organisations for the future.”

 

Ecclesiastical Insurance’s Education Risk Barometer 2021 explores the top risks within the education sector and focuses on key areas of concern including pupil and teacher mental health and safeguarding. It is the latest in a series of sector insights from Ecclesiastical Insurance, combining independent research with specialist knowledge from the insurer.

 

Ecclesiastical Insurance offers a range of risk management support and guidance to help schools manage the risks they face. For more information, visit the Hub for Education.

 

College wins pioneering mental health award for the second time

Impington Village College, on the outskirts of Cambridge, has been awarded the Gold Status School Mental Health Award by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools for the second time. This is in recognition of its continuous commitment to outstanding mental health and wellbeing provision for students and staff.

 

The Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools aims to strengthen pupils’ mental health by supporting schools to make a positive change at all levels of the UK’s education system, improving students’ outcomes and life chances.

 

The College offers its students a wide range of mental health support and resources, including an in-house mentoring programme and online referral system, a family support worker, YMCA counselling and access to professionals trained in areas including mindfulness, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and adolescent mental health.

 

The College also places a strong emphasis on staff wellbeing and mental health. It offers flexible working patterns, one paid family day annually and the option to work from home, when not teaching, to its staff. In recognition of its successful policies, the College was chosen to be one of eight Flexible Working Ambassador Schools in the UK to share best practice about how other schools can use flexible working to support teachers’ mental health and wellbeing.

 

The Department for Education also chose the College to represent the East of England and North East London regions for the ‘System Leaders – Workload Reduction Toolkit Refresh’ project, which addresses workload issues in schools, such as feedback and marking. All of these initiatives create an environment where staff and students feel safe and supported, to enhance student learning.

 

Victoria Hearn, Principal, Impington Village College, explained:Maximising flexibility for our staff means that they are able to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Flexible working has helped us to improve staff morale, reduce absences and increase productivity. By retaining our talented teaching team, we are able to deliver a continuous, high standard of learning for our students.”

 

Alongside support, all students have the opportunity to take part in wide range of activities to improve their wellbeing and personal development, such as pottery, swimming and yoga, as part of their iCAS (Creativity, Activity and Service) activity. This programme encourages learning for pleasure, commitment and responsibility, and fosters a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment for students.

 

Hearn said: “I am incredibly proud of the positive, inclusive environment we have built at the College, where all of our students and teachers can feel safe, secure and looked after. Our community feel means that our students feel comfortable asking for additional support, and our teachers can identify when a students may need additional resources for their mental health or wellbeing. As an IB World School, we take a student-centred approach to learning and teaching, focused on developing students intellectually, emotionally, physically and socially; helping them to develop their confidence and resilience. I am delighted that we have been re-awarded Gold Status for the second time in recognition of the outstanding pastoral care and support that our students benefit from.” 

 

The award was established in 2017 by the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools – part of Leeds Beckett University – and social enterprise Minds Ahead.

 

Doctor Steve Burton, Interim Dean of Leeds Beckett’s Carnegie School of Education, said: “Achieving this award is not just recognition of a whole-college approach to mental health, it’s a recognition of the college’s commitment to improving the life chances of children and engaging with the wider community including staff and parents/carers.

 

“We’re truly proud to have worked with Impington Village College in this vital work and look forward to further collaboration.”

 

Dean Johnstone, founder and CEO of Minds Ahead said: “This award shines a light on the excellent work schools are doing to promote mental health for their community of children and adults. It is thrilling and humbling to learn about Impington Village College and the many other schools engaged in the quality award process. I’d like to offer my congratulations on this deserved recognition.”

 

Stress, anxiety and depression on the rise as two in five teachers contemplate leaving profession

  • Two thirds of schools are more concerned about managing staff mental health since pandemic
  • Increased workloads, longer hours, and taking more work home are contributing to poor mental health
  • One in 10 schools don’t provide any mental health support for teachers

 

New research1 from specialist education insurer Ecclesiastical has revealed schools have seen an increase in teacher mental health issues since the start of the pandemic and two in five (38%) have seriously considered leaving the education sector.

 

Previous research2 from Ecclesiastical suggests the number of teachers considering leaving the profession has increased since the start of 2021. In March 2021, it was reported one in three (34%) teachers were considering leaving the profession as a result of “unbearable pressure.”

 

Increase in teacher mental health issues since the pandemic

 

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on teachers and two thirds (66%) of schools are more concerned about managing the mental health and wellbeing of teachers.

 

Schools have seen an increase in teacher mental health issues since the start of the pandemic. More than half of teachers said stress (58%) and anxiety (56%) amongst teachers had increased, and two in five (45%) said depression had increased.

 

Increased workloads (44%), taking on additional responsibilities that are increasing working hours (36%), and taking more work home (32%) are the biggest contributors to poor teacher mental health.

 

Supporting teachers with mental health issues

 

Additional training for staff on managing mental health issues (38%), introducing mindfulness techniques, such as meditation (33%), and providing third party professional helplines (31%) are the top ways schools are supporting teachers with mental health issues.

 

Despite most schools taking steps to support teachers, one in 10 (14%) don’t provide any mental health support for teachers.

 

Faith Kitchen, Customer Segment Director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “As one of the leading insurers of schools in the UK, Ecclesiastical is passionate about supporting the education sector. Covid-19 has put teachers under huge pressure and exacerbated mental health issues in the sector. The pandemic has created new risks for schools and seriously exacerbated existing challenges in the sector. Retention of staff is going to be a key concern for schools and our research has found two in five teachers have seriously considered leaving the education sector since the start of the pandemic. We encourage schools to think about the risks they may face and how best to protect their organisations for the future.”

 

Ecclesiastical Insurance’s Education Risk Barometer 2021 explores the top risks within the education sector and focuses on key areas of concern including pupil and teacher mental health and safeguarding. It is the latest in a series of sector insights from Ecclesiastical Insurance, combining independent research with specialist knowledge from the insurer.

 

Ecclesiastical Insurance offers a range of risk management support and guidance to help schools manage the risks they face. For more information, visit the Hub for Education.

 

Award winning EdTech provider GCSEPod ran a survey on children’s mental health and attitudes to education


++ Over half of respondents not looking forward to examinations this year ++

++ Almost two thirds of respondents say the chance to take exams is very important to them ++

++ Almost 90 per cent of respondents say mental health is as important as physical health ++

++ Less than half of all respondents say they can talk about their mental health with the adults in their life ++

Award winning EdTech provider, GCSEPod, an Access Group company, ran a survey in January 2022 asking young people aged between 11 and 16 years old about their feelings on returning to education and some broader questions about their mental health. 

To mark Children’s Mental Health Week this week (w/c 7th February), GCSEPod wanted to better understand how young people are feeling about their education and their futures. GCSEPod also met up with Blue Mental Health Education & Training to discuss some of the best ways to tackle the mental health crisis in schools.  They have written a blog for their website on what they learned, which can be accessed here.

Across the survey we found that pupils from younger years were in general more likely to feel comfortable speaking about mental health with an adult.

The majority of students polled in year 7 to 9 felt that they could speak to an adult about their mental health, in year 10 this number dipped to 49%. On average, students across all year groups felt that they knew where they could go to get support, with the highest responders in year 7 and the lowest in year 11. 

In general, students responded that they were positive about the future; 72% of pupils in year 7 responded that they were optimistic about the coming years. Overall, this positivity stayed consistent across all year groups, with 65% of pupils in year 12 saying they were optimistic.

Children’s Mental Health Week runs from the 7th to the 13th of February and this year’s theme is growing together.  Place2Be, the children’s mental health charity, launched the first ever Children’s Mental Health Week back in 2015 to shine a light on the importance of young people’s mental health.  One in six children and young people have a diagnosable mental health problem and this year children, and adults, are being asked to consider how they have grown and how they can help others to grow.

GCSEPod has several free resources on managing your mental health that can be downloaded for teachers or students.  You can find those resources here.

Emma Slater, Head of Education, GCSEPod an Access company said:

“At GCSEPod we are keen to support children, not just with their studies but with their mental wellbeing.  There’s lots to be done that can improve mental wellbeing and I hope that students and teachers will take a look at some of our free resources.”

MENTAL HEALTH RATED AS BIGGEST CONCERN FOR SCHOOLS

 

*Nearly four in five schools rated mental health as having the biggest impact on their organisation in the last year

*Almost three quarters (73%) of school leaders expect mental health and wellbeing to continue to be one of the biggest challenges over the next five years

*Zurich Municipal report reveals the biggest challenges facing public and voluntary sector organisations and their future concerns

*The insurer is currently working with Fika, a mental fitness learning and skills development partner, to address mental health in education

 

Nearly four in five school leaders say mental health and wellbeing was the biggest challenge for their organisation in the last year, according to a new report, which highlights the scale of the mental health crisis facing schools.   

 

The study by specialist insurer, Zurich Municipal and YouGov, revealed that for 78% of senior decision makers in primary and secondary schools, mental health and wellbeing had a “very big” or “substantial impact” on their organisation in the last 12 months – the highest out of seven challenges facing the sector. This was markedly higher than the average of 60% when looking at all public and third sector organisations surveyed.

 

The research went on to reveal future drivers of change and concerns, and predicts mental health will continue to have a major impact in schools. Nearly three quarters (73%) of school leaders expect mental health and wellbeing to continue to be one of the main challenges over the next five years – ranking second out of seven factors. However, it is issues related to funding and government policy that will become the primary worry in the future, with 85% of school leaders believing this will impact them the most.

 

In its study – The Future of the public and voluntary sectors – Zurich Municipal explored the general sentiment about the future of the public and voluntary sectors; views on current and future drivers of change and their relative impact; and future challenges and opportunities.  

 

Across all respondents, the study found the impact of mental health and wellbeing was most keenly felt in schools, followed by further and higher education establishments (71%) and charities (53%).  But while mental health and wellbeing had the greatest impact, primary and secondary school leaders also cited funding and government policy and the changing nature of work as having had a significant bearing on them in the last year – 71% and 63%.

 

Zurich’s findings come as a recent report by the charity, Education Support, found 77% of school staff are stressed (rising to 84% of senior leaders) and that over a third (38%) of education staff had experienced a mental health issue in the past academic year. 

 

Alix Bedford, Risk Proposition Manager, Zurich Municipal comments: “Working in the school environment has always been high pressured, but for nearly two years now, education staff have experienced an ongoing situation of unpredictability and stress. It is understandable that this would have a huge impact on mental health and wellbeing.  There are also concerns over the adverse impact of the pandemic on pupils, adding to the other issues already affecting young people’s mental health.

 

“Schools have a duty of care for the mental health and wellbeing of their staff and students. Awareness and understanding of the scope of this issue is rapidly evolving, but the policies, strategies and actions needed to respond must evolve rapidly too. If left unchecked, this risk could dwarf some others.”

 

Zurich Municipal is currently working with Fika, a mental fitness learning and skills development partner, to address mental health in education and offer training.  The three-month pilot, running until March, is part of Zurich’s aim to help schools protect their people as well as their property.   

 

Dr Amanda McNamee, Senior Mental Fitness Scientist at Fika said: “The state of declining mental health in education presents a risk in academic performance and stress to learners and burnout amongst staff. Current approaches pose a significant risk by reacting to declining mental health instead of preventing it. Fika has set out to mitigate the risk of decline and improve performance through a formal, proactive education-for-all solution and online mental fitness training tool.”

 

Fig 1. Issues that have had a big or significant impact schools in the last 12 months

 

Challenge Primary / Secondary Education Average across public and third sector
Mental health and wellbeing 78% 60%
Funding and fiscal policy 71% 67%
The changing nature of work e.g. hybrid working and workforce challenges 63% 68%
Changing community expectations and needs 62% 57%
Digital, data and automation 50% 52%
Changing organisational structures 39% 40%
Adapting to climate change 10% 18%

 

 

Fig.2 Issues that are predicted to have a big or significant impact schools  in the next five years

 

Challenge Primary / Secondary Education Across pubic and third sector
Funding and fiscal policy 85% 78%
Mental health and wellbeing 73% 57%
Changing community expectations and needs 58% 63%
Digital, data and automation 48% 56%
Changing organisational structures 44% 43%
 The changing nature of work (e.g. hybrid working and workforce challenges) 33% 55%
Adapting to climate change 21% 34%