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. 
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.