Former Portsmouth teacher speaks about why he left profession as pressure builds ahead of spending review

editorial image
Newbridge Junior School Picture: Maria Bujor

Children in Need: Junior School has a pretty perfect Pudsey plan

  • Pressure on teaching profession grows
  • 76 per cent of teachers want to leave
  • Many say it’s not enjoyable anymore
0
Have your say

LONG hours, increasing workload and greater pressures.

These are just some of the reasons why our best teachers are choosing to leave the profession.

The news comes as Chancellor George Osborne prepares for the Comprehensive Spending Review.

In a nationwide survey, 76 per cent of teachers said they wanted to leave.

Jake Rusby trained and taught in a Portsmouth school.

He went on to teach in a primary school for a further two years before leaving.

Jake, 31, said: ‘Current working conditions for teachers are not sustainable.

‘Excessive hours and pressure mean the job in itself is, in general, not enjoyable. I regularly did 14-hour days five days in a row, then worked over the weekend.

‘It’s almost impossible to switch off and I’ve suffered anxiety attacks because of the job, while I know many others who are signed off with stress.

‘The workload and pressure were huge reasons for me leaving the profession. Schools focus now, in general, not on the wellbeing and personal development of their children, but on their academic achievement.

‘Every child is different, and this just isn’t recognised or catered for by the current system. It makes my blood boil.

‘It is not just pressure on teachers – tests throughout school for children so young make education unenjoyable.

‘The education system needs a complete overhaul, with power being put back into the hands of experts in education, not bureaucrats in Whitehall. Teachers need to be shown respect and the focus needs to be taken away from attainment and different skillsets and subjects given more focus.’

Another teacher, who works in a Portsmouth secondary school but has asked to remain anonymous, said she was thinking of leaving the profession.

She said: ‘I went into teaching to try to increase the passion for the subject and support students. My favourite thing about my job is to see students enjoy school and succeed.

‘I form fantastic relationships with my students and they say I am their favourite teacher. However if they knew that I was constantly looking to get out of the profession due to the pressures the government are putting us under, they would be devastated.’

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: ‘Teaching continues to be a popular career, with nine out of 10 teachers saying they relish the chance to make a difference in young people’s lives. Latest figures show the highest number of people joining the profession since 2008 and the rate of former teachers coming back to the classroom has continued to rise year after year.

‘Our reforms are ensuring children get the excellent education they deserve with a million more pupils being taught in good or outstanding schools. But we know unnecessary workload can detract from what matters most: teaching.

‘That’s why we are working with the profession and education experts to take action on the issues teachers said caused the most bureaucracy such as marking and lesson planning.’