The initial findings of an NEU-NUT (National Education Union-National Union of Teachers) survey of 2,500 teachers show that 81% of them said they have considered leaving teaching in the last year because of their workload, that 40% are spending more than 21hr a week working at home at evenings and weekends, and that more than 80% are now teaching more hours than the average teaching hours in 2016, as schools face rising pupil numbers at the same time as a recruitment and retention crisis.
Furthermore, one third of teachers responding to the survey said that their workload had never been manageable during the past year.
Just over half said that it was only sometimes manageable, and only 15% said that it was manageable all or most of the time.
Less than 15% of teachers said that they had a good work-life balance all or most of the time.
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, said: “The Government cannot keep burying its head in the sand about the issue of workload.
“It is clearly driving the majority of teachers to despair — or out of the profession all together.
“The continual long hours spent on unnecessary work such as data collection for arbitrary Government targets is not only demoralising but unsustainable — mentally and physically.
If the Government does not act decisively — and soon — the recruitment and retention crisis will seriously damage our children and young people’s education.”
Peter Finegold, head of educations and skills at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The problem of teacher retention is especially challenging for engineering-related subjects such as science and maths.
“Analysis by the National Foundation for Educational Research shows how those qualified in physics or engineering were 87% more likely to leave teaching within five years than their non-STEM colleagues.
“We believe that offering financial incentives through rewarding early-career teachers at key pinch-points will help increase numbers of these vital STEM teachers, but it isn’t all about salary incentives.
“There needs to be greater acknowledgement that teaching in an environment where continual professional development is seen as an intrinsic part of the job — and not a luxury — boosts professional self-esteem and resilience.”