Teacher Well-Being Research

Ofsted are interested in well-being. You might not think it but they are. You might think their interest stinks somewhat given Ofsted is often a driver of stress in teachers.

However, at the beginning of the summer term in 2018 Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman commissioned research into teacher well-being. They wanted to find out what the current levels of teacher well-being looked like and what factors impacted the most.

They have visited just 25 schools and FES providers across the country so far and on top of that 680 school staff and 213 staff from FES providers responded to an occupational well-being questionnaire in the summer.

The findings from the questionnaire show that teachers are not a happy bunch although 11% reported very high well-being at work.

More teachers than senior leaders reported low well-being and a quarter of all respondents had taken time off work because of health problems caused or made worse by work.

Mental health is commonly reported as being the thing that suffers the most.

Interestingly, 62% of all respondents felt teaching was not valued by society which is not what a recent Ipsos MORI survey found –  teaching was the third most trusted profession.

What matters the most to teachers are pupils, their colleagues and the support they get from them.

The top three negative influences on well-being are workload, marking and behaviour. The first two are not really surprising and neither is the last until you unpack it a little more. Pupils’ challenging behaviour impacts but so does inconsistent behaviour management by colleagues.

Ofsted found that the word ‘lack’ was often cited including:

  • lack of support to manage behaviour
  • lack of time
  • lack of money/budget/funding
  • lack of resources
  • lack of communication
  • lack of a work/life balance

There are few surprises in the research findings because many teachers are operating inside a fragile system and working in schools that are financially on their knees.

What we need to focus on is the 11% who reported very high well-being. What’s happening for these people? What are their schools doing that others aren’t?

And what about the inconsistency surrounding behaviour management? To me that is a quick-fix and down to senior leaders to get on top of and keep on top of.

Ofsted’s questionnaire closes at midnight tonight so make sure you take part as our opinions definitely count.

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