Teacher Support Info

Over 70 per cent of teachers consider leaving profession over poor behaviour

By Jason Harrison : 3 October 2010

More than 70 per cent of teachers have considered quitting teaching as a result of poor behaviour in schools, a new survey will reveal tomorrow (Monday).

92 per cent of teachers, who responded to the 2010 Behaviour Survey from Teacher Support Network and Parentline Plus and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said that pupil behaviour had got worse over the course of their career, which had led many to think about changing professions.

“It is with deep sadness that after 16 years as a teacher that I will now be leaving the profession” said Joules, in a post to Teacher Support Network’s online forum on behaviour. “This is due to stress and depression caused by several physically and verbally abusive incidents by students. (…) I am not prepared to (…) damage my health any further.”

The online survey of teachers also found that, like Joules, 81 per cent of respondents had experienced stress, anxiety or depression as a result of bad behaviour, while 79 per cent of teachers said that they felt unable to teach as effectively due to poor behaviour.

“We know from the marked increase in the use of our behaviour-related services over the last year, that poor behaviour is at the heart of many of teachers’ health and wellbeing issues” said Julian Stanley, Chief Executive of Teacher Support Network. “We are not saying that behaviour is an issue in every classroom, in every school, but we are concerned that poor behaviour is leading some great teachers to leave the profession.

Parents and teachers need to work together to create safe, respectful school communities, where teachers, and by extension their children, can reach their full potential.”

The survey, which will be the focus of a Conservative Party Breakfast Fringe event tomorrow morning, held by Teacher Support Network and Parentline Plus with the Minister of State for Schools Nick Gibb MP, revealed that teachers were in favour of extending disciplinary powers for teachers set out by the Government in July, although interestingly 81 per cent of respondents did say that they had never used existing search powers.

A further 95 per cent of teachers involved in the survey said that guidance for parents about their responsibilities to support school behaviour policies was essential or important to improving pupil behaviour in the future.

More collaboration between parents and teachers was welcomed with policies such as annual reviews of school behaviour policies involving all staff, parents and pupils and School Improvement Plans that consider staff concerns seen as essential.

“The results of this survey make worrying reading. It is vital that schools work with parents to engage them and ensure they understand their important role in their child’s education, including reinforcing the schools messages about acceptable behaviour” said Jeremy Todd, Chief Executive of Parentline Plus. “For many parents the school environment can be an intimidating one, perhaps reminding them of their own unpleasant school experiences.

It is important that schools reach out of those parents who do not feel comfortable in a number of schools working to help those families whose children display challenging behaviour in the classroom. Simple techniques and confidence building in parents whose children are not able to behave in class can be very effective and enable children to stay in the classroom and behave, preventing them from permanent exclusion.”

Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT, the largest teaching union said “the survey clearly shows that teachers see the sharing of best practice across schools both locally and nationally as being the best way forward to deal with pupil behaviour issues.

The introduction of the academies and Free Schools programme could see much of this valuable work jeopardised. Central specialist services play a valuable role in providing both support and training for teachers. Government spending cuts threaten the existence of such teams.” Full survey results can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/37xrhml or download the pdf below.