News that the UK Government is to freeze funding for education, says the National Union of Teachers, will have a negative impact on this generation of school pupils and adversely affect teachers.
Already, says a BBC report, teachers in England and Scotland have more teaching hours and bigger classes than in most other developed countries, according to an OECD annual education report. At the same time, the think tank says, teachers’ pay has declined in real terms.
And a recent report in the Daily Mail pointed out that teachers in Suffolk alone took 10,500 days off during an academic year due to stress – the equivalent of 50 school years.
Worried union leaders said a huge increase in workload, threat of inspections and pressure of league tables and exams were to blame for the catastrophic picture.
With teachers’ pay having declined in real terms between 2005 and 2013, according to the OECD, John Bangs, of Education International, an international federation of teachers’ unions, said the report showed that the ‘pay freeze is damaging education across many countries and that includes England’.
“The best potential teachers are finding jobs in other, better paid professions,” he said.
Teachers’ unions have complained that an excessive workload is deterring people from staying in teaching – and the OECD’s report shows how teachers in the UK compare with their classroom counterparts.
Graham White, Suffolk’s division secretary for the NUT, said he was not shocked by the stress statistics. “I think that it is clear that teaching is an extremely stressful job and the figures do not surprise me,” he said.
“These figures are rising and teachers are becoming more and more stressed but this isn’t a criticism of the school, it is just the nature of the job. There so many factors and elements which are all being imposed on teachers and schools and these all have knock-on effects.”
Dealing with stress, anxiety and depression is one of the things members of the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) do very well. The NCH has more than 1800 members across the UK – highly-trained and qualified to deal with anxiety and stress.
The NCH says about one in seven people are suffering from stress or anxiety at any one time in the UK but more and more people are showing signs of over-anxiety, which leads to stress. And this, in turn, can have a significant impact on the quality of life and well-being.
But after sessions with a hypnotherapist, the client may feel more confident; more relaxed in situations that have previously been challenging. Many people say that they are calmer and that they have more clarity of thought – able to make decisions more easily.
People who have experienced side effects of anxiety such as insomnia, find that they are sleeping much better and as a result are able to work more effectively.
“Hypnotherapy unlocks the potential you have to break free of negative thought patterns, and to react more positively and more confidently to situations in your life that may have previously made you anxious, says the NCH.
Referring to the teacher crisis, Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said the figures highlight what most in education already know: that teacher recruitment levels are at a critically low point.
“What the figures don’t capture is that those trainees might not be where they’re most needed once they’re qualified. They also don’t capture the ever-increasing workload and a growing gap between private and public wages in a context of high rents and mortgages, which are driving many excellent teachers out of what can be a deeply rewarding profession.”