‘Primary teachers have highest psychological distress’

Researchers from the University of Exeter who followed primary school teachers for three academic years found almost a third experienced worryingly high levels of psychological distress.Teachers blamed repeated shake-ups in their jobs, increasing pressure to produce good exam results and micromanagement for their unhappiness.

“High levels of stress in primary school teachers are well-recorded, with above average levels of burn-out, self-harm and suicide, yet this is the first study of its kind where findings are sustained over time,” said Tamsin Ford, a professor at the University of Exeter Medical School.

“Some teachers told us that the reason for this includes the constant and repeated reorganisations of teaching and the demands in primary school for ever-higher academic attainment.”
The research, which was supported by the National Institute for Health Research, looked at data from up to 90 primary school teachers in the South West of England.
It found that between 19 per cent and 29 per cent of primary school teachers experienced “clinically significant levels of distress” over a 30-month period.

Recent research by the Education Support Partnership (ESP) charity found that 31 per cent of teachers had experienced mental health problems in the last year.