Research highlights concern about teacher wellbeing over summer break

By agency reporter
July 29, 2018

New research into the health and wellbeing of teachers during the summer holiday has found that over half (53 per cent) worry to a ‘large extent’ about the amount of preparation needed for the next academic year.

Research from the charity Education Support Partnership has also discovered that the number of days teachers expect to work over the holidays has increased from six days five years ago to an expected eight days this year.

For headteachers, deputies and senior leaders the situation is worse with days worked over the holidays increasing from nine days five years ago to an expected eleven days this year.

Over 43 per cent of the 811 teachers asked also stated that they find it increasingly difficult to ‘switch off from work’ during the holidays.

When teachers were asked what it is that was causing them stress and anxiety during the period:

  • 68 per cent said student performance and pending exam results
  • 65 per cent stated a lack of autonomy and control over their role
  • 60 per cent highlighted financial worries
  • 54 per cent said they would worry about their health
  • 47 per cent stated having positive professional relationships with colleagues
  • 46 per cent said they had concerns over job security

Positively, 73 per cent of teachers stated that they intend to proactively try and look after their health and wellbeing over the summer holiday.

In response to the survey findings, Julian Stanley, CEO at Education Support Partnership, said: "Our findings indicate there is a growing trend towards teachers experiencing work-related stress and anxiety over the summer break. This is a period when teachers should predominately be focused on detaching themselves from their role and focusing on their own individual health and wellbeing.

"Failure to do so runs the risk of burnout in the next the academic year, which seriously impacts on their ability to meet the needs of pupils and ensure we have a thriving education system.

"Education Support Partnership is encouraging all teachers and education staff to follow a series of activities this summer, which are proven to improve their wellbeing. We will also continue run our 24/7 free emotional support helpline and financial grants service throughout the break, which we encourage teachers to use at the earliest sign of concern."

Victoria Hewett, teacher, blogger and author, known also as Mrs Humanities, added: "In my first few years of teaching, I didn’t have to wait until the summer, I was exhausted by October half term and didn’t always feel I wanted to go back to school. I started experiencing dizziness and vertigo which almost led me to passing out in front of a class and several visits to the GP and hospital.

"By my fourth year I’d fallen into a state of depression, which I hadn’t realised at the time. When the summer did arrive, I spent it catching up on unfinished work and preparing for the following September rather than taking time out to relax and recuperate. I would encourage anyone struggling over the holidays to contact the Education Support Partnership for advice.”

Education Support Partnership provides a free and confidential 24/7 helpline on 08000 562 561 for everyone working in education.

* Education Support Partnership is a charity providing mental health and wellbeing support services to all education staff and organisations. https://www.educationsupportpartnership.org.uk/

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