School teachers are often working in excess of 50 hours per week and spending more than half of their working time on tasks other than classroom teaching. More than half feel that their job negatively impacts their mental health, and wellbeing scores for teachers and school leaders are lower than UK averages, especially among those who work in primary schools. Most worryingly, one quarter of teachers are considering leaving the profession in the next 12 months.

These are the findings of the inaugural Working lives of teachers and leaders study which published its wave 1 research report this month. Based on survey responses from over 11,000 teachers and leaders in spring 2022, the report paints a concerning picture of the state of the teaching profession in England.

As well as issues around pay, workload and job satisfaction, the report highlights deficits in training and support for teachers. More than half of early career teachers did not consider that their training had prepared them well for teaching pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and two thirds of teachers and leaders said that their high workload created a barrier to accessing training and CPD. Lack of funding to pay for training was considered a barrier by nearly half of respondents.

Responding to the report, Rebecca Brooks (Adoption UK’s Education Policy Advisor) said, “Education is a priority area of concern for parents and carers of care experienced and adopted children. Vulnerable children need schools that are properly resourced and trained to meet their complex needs, but teachers simply cannot give of their best for children if they themselves are struggling, over-worked and unsupported.”

Adoption UK’s Adoption Barometer 2022 report revealed that while 73% of adoptive parents agreed that their child’s school worked with them to find the best ways to support their child, only 45% felt that the teachers fully understood the needs of adopted and care experienced children. The Working lives of teachers and leaders report underlines the need to address resourcing, training and workload so that schools can provide the very best for every child.