Record levels of stress ‘put teachers at breaking point’

Education Support, a charity that gives mental health help to education professionals, predicts school standards will fall and mental health problems in the classroom will multiply if the government does not act quickly to offer teachers more support.

Seen exclusively by the Observer, the charity’s teacher wellbeing index indicates that stress levels among teachers and school leaders have ratcheted up for the third consecutive year to the highest levels ever. Nearly three-quarters of teachers and 84% of school leaders now describe themselves as “stressed”, and more than a third of education professionals have experienced a mental health issue in the past academic year. Almost half (49%) believe their workplace is having a negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing.

Chief executive, Sinéad Mc Brearty said: “We are beyond ‘crisis’. We are in a state of distress.” If the situation continued, she warned, it would result in “burnt-out leaders on an industrial scale” and schools would face huge problems recruiting and retaining staff.