A major new piece of independent research claims the working conditions of Scotland’s teachers are ‘extremely poor’.
The research, carried out by academics at Bath Spa University, found that teachers in Scotland face high levels of workload demand, leading to greater stress and reduced job satisfaction.
Significantly, the research also found that over 40 per cent of teachers surveyed plan to leave their post within the next 18 months. The research also studied the working conditions of social workers, which are highlighted in a separate research report.
Larry Flanagan, EIS general secretary, said: “The results of this independent research confirm that Scotland’s teachers continue to be overburdened with excessive workload demands and are subject to high levels of stress.
“This will obviously have a detrimental impact on morale within the profession and on teachers’ health and wellbeing.”
Mr Flanagan added: “Particularly worrying, in light of the recruitment challenges that exist across the country, is the finding that over 40 per cent of teachers are considering leaving their job within the next 18 months.
“This clearly highlights the need for urgent action to make teaching a more attractive profession, with better working conditions, to ensure that we can continue to attract and retain highly qualified graduates into teaching.
“This must include reducing the bureaucratic and workload demands on teachers, ensuring that schools are fully staffed and significant improvements in levels of pay following a decade of real-terms cuts to teachers’ salaries.”
Report co-author Dr Jermaine Ravalier, also co-lead of the Psychological Research Group at Bath Spa University, said: “While it is clear that teachers and social workers find the nature of their jobs deeply fulfilling, this is no longer enough to outweigh the impact that governmental cuts are having on their jobs. These studies add significant academic and objective evidence to much of the anecdotal evidence we often hear about.
“We have clear evidence therefore that underfunding in our public services is leading to increased stress and intentions to leave.”
Dr Ravalier added: “If only half of those who said they’d leave actually do so in the next 18 months, our public services are about to be hit with a huge exodus of staff.
“If and when this happens it is not only hugely expensive, but will also have massive impacts on our next generation, as well as those who require the help and support of our social services. The role played by teachers and social workers is vital for the whole of society, so the findings of this work should be a catalyst for greater investment in our public services.”
Dr Ravalier presented the research findings today (Thursday) at the British Science Festival in Brighton, an event organised by the British Science Association and co-hosted by the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex.
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) did not commission or influence the research, but offered some support to the authors in publicising the research project to teaching professionals across Scotland.