Stress, anxiety and depression on the rise as two in five teachers contemplate leaving profession

14 February 2022

Schools have seen an increase in teacher mental health issues since the start of the pandemic.

New research1 from specialist education insurer Ecclesiastical has revealed two in five (38%) teachers have seriously considered leaving the education sector.

Previous research2 from Ecclesiastical suggests the number of teachers considering leaving the profession has increased since the start of 2021. In March 2021, it was reported one in three (34%) teachers were considering leaving the profession as a result of “unbearable pressure.”

Increase in teacher mental health issues since the pandemic

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on teachers and two thirds (66%) of schools are more concerned about managing the mental health and wellbeing of teachers.

Schools have seen an increase in teacher mental health issues since the start of the pandemic. More than half of teachers said stress (58%) and anxiety (56%) amongst teachers had increased, and two in five (45%) said depression had increased.

Increased workloads (44%), taking on additional responsibilities that are increasing working hours (36%), and taking more work home (32%) are the biggest contributors to poor teacher mental health.

Supporting teachers with mental health issues

Additional training for staff on managing mental health issues (38%), introducing mindfulness techniques, such as meditation (33%), and providing third party professional helplines (31%) are the top ways schools are supporting teachers with mental health issues.

Despite most schools taking steps to support teachers, one in 10 (14%) don’t provide any mental health support for teachers.

Faith Kitchen, Customer Segment Director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “As one of the leading insurers of schools in the UK, Ecclesiastical is passionate about supporting the education sector. Covid-19 has put teachers under huge pressure and exacerbated mental health issues in the sector. The pandemic has created new risks for schools and seriously exacerbated existing challenges in the sector. Retention of staff is going to be a key concern for schools and our research has found two in five teachers have seriously considered leaving the education sector since the start of the pandemic. We encourage schools to think about the risks they may face and how best to protect their organisations for the future.”

Ecclesiastical Insurance’s Education Risk Barometer 2021 explores the top risks within the education sector and focuses on key areas of concern including pupil and teacher mental health and safeguarding. It is the latest in a series of sector insights from Ecclesiastical Insurance, combining independent research with specialist knowledge from the insurer.

Ecclesiastical Insurance offers a range of risk management support and guidance to help schools manage the risks they face.

1 The survey was commissioned by Ecclesiastical Insurance and conducted by OnePoll with 500 UK professionals in schools and sixth forms from 1 to 19 October 2021.

2 One in three teachers thinking of leaving profession | Media Centre | Ecclesiastical