East Anglian teachers 'isolated and criticised' by bosses amid bullying crisis
Teachers in East Anglia are being isolated by managers and criticised in the classroom, according to a senior education figure in the region.
It comes as a study of almost 2,000 teachers by the NASUWT union found 80pc had experienced bullying in the past year, with headteachers and line managers the most common perpetrators.
The crisis is putting a strain on the mental health of the teaching workforce: four out of five victims said they had suffered anxiety and more than half (52pc) had experienced depression as a result, while more than one in six had sought solace in alcohol (17pc) or prescribed drugs (18pc).
Keith Anderson, NASUWT regional organiser for the East of England, said the national picture shown in the survey was reflected in the east.
He felt bullying in schools was “extremely prevalent” – particularly teachers' capability being called into question, which could harm their efforts to find another position.
During his 25 years in the education profession – including as a teacher – Mr Anderson said the problem of workplace bullying had worsened.
On-going disputes feature bullying tactics such as aggressive behaviour, harassment and purposeful isolation.
“Normally you would have to go to the chair of governors and see if we had a case for an employment tribunal, but quite often these things are one person's word against another's,” he said.
“We find that teachers, particularly of a certain age, who have been teaching for 20 or 30 years and are at the top of the pay scale, are suddenly deemed incapable. The driving through of school cuts and the pressures on budgets leads to people who are expensive effectively being pushed out.
“But about 40pc of the people coming into teaching plan to leave within five years because of the bullying and the drive towards league tables.”
He added: “There has to be a cultural change. We have good teachers who are highly qualified and highly talented, we need to allow them to get on and do their job.
“Teachers are the most important people in the education of our young people and if they are stressed and under pressure young people are not going to get the best education they can.”