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Workforce planning key to preventing mental health strain worsening school staffing crisis

March 8, 2019

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Following a survey of newly qualified teachers, which revealed that just 43% have definite plans to stay in the profession long-term - with 29% definitively planning to leave the sector and 28% undecided - an education recruiter has urged schools to take immediate action to prevent worsening an already present teacher recruitment crisis.

The research, which surveyed more than 275 staff in their first year of teaching, is the latest in a number of studies that paint a negative picture of teacher experience in the UK. Other studies have also suggested that 31% of teachers have experienced a mental health problem in the past academic year alone, with sharp rises in insomnia, irritability, mood swings, and anxiety across the board. The crisis has been described as ‘critical’ and shows no signs of abating.

Commenting on the research, Baljinder Kuller, who has over 15 years’ experience in education recruitment with local authorities and private sector agencies, and is now Managing Director of online supply teacher portal, The Supply Register, said:

‘’These statistics are just another indication of something that we’ve known for a long time – that the teacher mental health is an urgent problem requiring decisive action. In order to tackle the crisis head on, school leaders need to build open and supportive wellbeing cultures, ensure they offer mental health training to staff, non-typical job arrangements, promote wellbeing strategies like CBT, and look into strategic workforce management’’

‘’However, many school leaders don’t have the necessary time, resources and expertise to implement these approaches. This is what makes strategic workforce planning an extremely useful step to tackle these problems. With a dedicated workforce planning strategy that deploys existing skills effectively, education leaders can alleviate the strain on teachers today in areas such as workload, and free up time to focus on long term approaches.’'

‘’Ultimately, there are many different approaches that school leaders can take in order to improve the mental health crisis, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ route. People will react differently to certain methods, making the best approach to build a culture that allows leaders to start with the individual and work out what suits them best.’’

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