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Two thirds of teachers have seen an increase in pupil mental health concerns, new research finds.
New research1 by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical has found two thirds of teachers in the UK have seen an increase in pupil mental health concerns (65%) and pupil anxiety (64%) since students returned to schools in September.
One in ten teachers say pupil mental health concerns (16%) and pupil anxiety (16%) has greatly increased.
More than half (56%) of teachers admitted to personally feeling anxious while working at their school, since returning in September.
Of those who feel anxious, almost three quarters (72%) are concerned about the risks of catching COVID-19, while half (51%) feel anxious because of the lack of social distancing in schools.
Half (48%) are concerned about the extra workload caused by COVID-19, while 38% are concerned about pupil behaviour. A third (34%) are concerned that pupils aren’t wearing masks (34%).
The research discovered that increased pressure on staff to help pupils catch up (47%), pupils struggling to catch up on time lost (46%), and increased workloads (42%) are the top three biggest challenges schools are now facing due to COVID-19.
Pupil stress and anxiety (39%), dealing with low staff morale (33%), and poor pupil behaviour (30%) are also major challenges currently facing schools.
The survey found that three quarters (75%) of schools are providing additional wellbeing support in response to COVID-19 since they returned in September.
More than a quarter (28%) of schools are providing counselling services for pupils, while 27% have introduced mindfulness techniques.
A quarter (26%) have offered additional training for staff on managing mental health issues and counselling services for employees (25%).
One in five (19%) schools are providing third party/professional helplines, while 17% of schools have partnered with a mental health specialist in response to COVID-19.
Faith Kitchen, education director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “As one of the leading insurers of schools in the UK, Ecclesiastical is passionate about supporting the education sector. Our latest research has found that since schools have reopened their doors in September, there has been an increase in pupil mental health concerns. More than half of teachers feel anxious while working at school and the increased pressure on staff to help pupils catch up is a key challenge schools are currently facing. We recognise that it is an incredibly challenging time for the education sector and schools need to carefully manage these risks.”
In February, Ecclesiastical launched the Education Risk Barometer which looks at the immediate and emerging risks facing schools in the UK.
1 The survey was commissioned by specialist education insurer Ecclesiastical and conducted by OnePoll with 500 teachers between 20/10/2020 - 30/10/2020.