Union president highlights concerns about mental health of teachers

Kathy Wallis, president of the NASUWT

Kathy Wallis, president of the NASUWT - Credit: Archant

Concerns about the mental health of teachers is rising across the world, the president of a leading teachers' union has said on a visit to Norfolk.

Kathy Wallis, of the NASUWT, visited the county as part of her efforts to thank teachers across the country for their commitment to the profession.

She said her role has seen her liaise with teachers' bodies in many different countries.

She said: 'We are working with unions world-wide looking at problems of stress and mental health. We have so much stress going on in the classroom, caused by a myriad of reasons. We want to have our teachers in the very best health possible, so they can get the very best deal for the students.'

Asked about the NASUWT's priorities, she raised the recently-released 2016 report of the School Teachers' Review Body, which recommended a 1pc pay rise. Recruitment and workload are also issues.

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She said: 'Right across the country we are getting teachers who are going under with the amount of work they have to do, and the amount of work being imposed on them by the government is phenomenal.

'They work all the hours they are sent. We have teachers who are having to get child care for their own children because they are concentrating on other people's children. That's just wrong.'

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She also raised the government's missed teacher training targets, and added concerns about whether those entering the profession viewed it as a long-term career.

'A lot of people don't see it as a career that they are going to stay with for a significant amount of time any longer. It's all to do with workload and conditions of service.

'People consider teachers are well paid. Well, maybe, but they lag behind all other graduate professions.'

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