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Teachers Are Quitting Because Of Bullying

Teachers Are Quitting Because Of Bullying

There’s a headline that I never thought I’d write. At Mark Mate, we’re incredibly passionate about teacher wellbeing. It’s the reason our CEO created the product and the company. We all know that workloads for teachers can reach unmanageable levels, so we wanted to do something about it. Last week, however, even more troubling news about teacher wellbeing was released.

Teachers being bullied

Data from NASUWT, released last week, shows that 80% of teachers had been bullied in the last year. They’ve been shouted at, verbally abused and had their work criticised in front of others by headteachers and colleagues. NASUWT surveyed 1,995 teachers and found that many lives were being ruined in the workplace, leaving many teachers feeling depressed, lacking confidence and seeking medical help or turning to alcohol to help them cope. The vast majority cases showed that bullying was carried out by headteachers, line managers and senior leaders. 4 out of 5 respondents said they’d suffered anxiety as a result of bullying.

What are teachers experiencing?

One teacher said of bullying they’d experienced:

It has been horrific. I genuinely thought about harming myself so I wouldn’t have to attend work.

Another teacher commented:

Education is a nasty, back-stabbing, cruel place to work.

45% of teachers surveyed revealed that they had felt the need to visit their GP to try to find a way to deal with the bullying, while 18% and been using prescription drugs and 17% had turned to alcohol as a way to cope with the abuse.

A Department of Education spokesperson has commented:

No teacher should face bullying or ill-treatment in the workplace, and schools have a duty to protect their staff. Our Teacher Recruitment and Retention strategy, launched in January, focuses on the wellbeing of school and college staff and in particular the importance of developing supportive cultures.

Of the survey results, general secretary of NASUWT, Chris Keates was quoted as saying:

Evidence of bullying is alarmingly prevalent in schools and colleges. While there are many schools that treat their staff with courtesy and respect, teachers tell us that in too many a culture of bullying and abuse of teachers is far too common. Bullying is destroying many teachers’ physical and mental health, and driving some teachers from their schools or the profession entirely.

What’s being done about it?

The Government are indeed trying to improve teacher wellbeing with initiatives like the Teacher Recruitment and Retention strategy, but there are also other options available to teachers who wish to help combat bullying in the workplace. The Education Support Programme have launched their Positive Workplace Programme. As per the programme itself, it aims to develop a school team’s commitment to the school’s goals and values, supporting their engagement with the school’s success, while developing their overall sense of wellbeing and resilience. If a school signs up to the programme, each member of staff is given access to a completely confidential online Positive Workplace Survey. The data from the survey highlight’s the school’s strengths while also supporting your SLT to identify areas for improvement. The programme’s consultants will then work with your school  to meet your specific needs.

If you’ve experienced something similar, or you’ve actively campaigned to help with this ongoing problem, we’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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One Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    As a member of a highly competent, award winning , University Centre of Excellence teaching and learning team, I welcome the initiatives described. However, high performance at non-executive levels is no guarantee of retention of either individual departments nor high performing teams. The Governments new initiative as regards where the funding and focus of the solution for teacher retention, reads as if it is focused on a top down strategy, whereby the power is vested in the hands of the Senior Management Team (SMT). But … what if … its the bullying culture of the SMT that is driving the internal decision-making and evaluation strategies that are resulting in the loss of highly performing teachers in the first place.

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