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teachers' mental health – should we be worried?

15 April 2014

A recent poll has shown that over half (55%) of school staff feel that their job has a negative impact on their mental health - causing symptoms of stress, exhaustion and sleep deprivation. Large amounts of unpaid overtime, intense pressure to cope with Ofsted requirements and the perceived stigma attached to mental health issues all are highlighted as contributory factors.

These reports are at odds with recent DfE statements claiming “teaching has never been more attractive, more popular, or more rewarding”.

The spotlight is undoubtedly on teacher performance now more than ever and head teachers and governors do need to be mindful of the potential health risks. Creating a supportive culture, questioning the necessity of new initiatives and open dialogue can help.

Many modern roles bring with them an element of pressure; however prudent senior leadership teams (SLT) should consider whether sufficient safeguards are in place. Any necessary additional support can then be introduced before it is too late.

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