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13th Dec, 2023

Gavin Beart
Gavin Beart
Job Title
Divisional Managing Director

Wellbeing at work is a prominent issue for employers in every sector. However, in teaching, as with other public sector roles, it impacts more than the educator alone, with a huge bearing on how impressionable school children view their teacher and their subject. A teacher having a bad day because of fatigue or burnout is not going to be in the best frame of mind to support learners – little more effective than the teacher absent on sick leave. With this in mind, teacher wellbeing should be a priority for leaders – and taken seriously – to avoid mental health issues, resignations, or worse. 

Education Support’s Teacher Wellbeing Index 2023 found wellbeing to be the lowest since 2019 among England’s school staff – at 43.44, the score (measured using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale) falls significantly below the national average of 51.40.  

With a reported 78% of all teaching staff ‘stressed’, the Index highlighted that: “Stress levels have increased across the sector when compared to 2022. The highest increase has been seen among school teachers, and insomnia is also on the rise across the workforce.” 

Education Support’s Chief Executive, Sinéad Mc Brearty, stated: “These findings suggest that we can expect continued high levels of attrition from the workforce. It is hard to attract new talent to a profession that others are leaving in droves. Fixing this needs immediate action from government and should be a priority for all political parties as we head into the next general election.” 

While we await the election, what action can schools reasonably take to provide relief to staff? 

1. Establish a supportive culture 

Prioritise wellbeing by cultivating a culture that supports mental health and work-life balance. Encouraging open communication channels allows teachers to express concerns and seek assistance when needed. Establishing mentorship programmes and support networks can provide a platform for teachers to share experiences and coping mechanisms, creating a sense of solidarity. 

2. Professional development opportunities 

Investing in continuous professional development is a powerful way to empower teachers and boost their confidence in the classroom. Provide access to training that focuses on stress management, resilience building, and effective time management to help staff navigate the demands of their profession. 

3. Flexible working arrangements 

Flexible working arrangements may include options for part-time schedules, job sharing, or remote work when possible, alleviating the pressures of balancing professional and personal responsibilities, leading to improved mental wellbeing. 

4. Wellbeing initiatives and resources 

Promote healthy coping mechanisms for all staff, such as mindfulness workshops, yoga sessions, or access to mental health resources. 

5. Fair compensation and recognition 

Ensuring that teachers are fairly compensated for their dedication and hard work is essential. Recognising outstanding performance through awards or incentives can boost morale and motivation but mustn’t be based on expectations that employees go beyond their job description to succeed.  

6. Workload management 

Striking a balance in teachers’ workloads is crucial for their overall wellbeing. Employers should assess and streamline administrative tasks, ensuring that educators can focus on their primary responsibility. Implementing effective time-management strategies and taking advantage of technology to reduce admin tasks can contribute to a healthier work-life balance. 

7. Mental health support services 

Offering access to confidential mental health support services is a proactive measure to address the emotional challenges teachers may face. This can include counselling services, helplines, or partnerships with mental health professionals. Creating a stigma-free environment where seeking support is encouraged is essential in promoting overall wellbeing. 


The pressures across the teaching profession have risen steadily since the pandemic and will take time, planning and funding to set right. With ill health and unhappiness at the heart of teachers’ decision to leave the profession early, it’s high time formal processes govern standards of teacher support across the board. Optimum wellbeing is, of course, the goal for every institution but until workloads can be balanced, non-teaching responsibilities redistributed, and investment made in school resources, we have a mountain to climb. 

To find your next role in education or to hire new staff at your school, get in touch with your local Reed specialist.