Wales

Nearly half of teachers 'think of quitting' - NUT Cymru

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Media captionGafyn Sion Styff says stress left him at his lowest point 'sobbing like a baby' in front of his head teacher

Nearly a half of teachers surveyed in Wales said they are thinking of leaving the job in the next two years.

The union NUT Cymru asked 450 teachers about their intentions for the future.

The main reasons given were because of "unreasonable demands from managers", workload and "seeking a better work-life balance".

There are 28,000 teachers in Wales and ministers said support for them was "at the very heart" of the changes being made in the education system.

The survey also suggested 85% of those teachers thought morale had declined over the past five years.

Responding to the question, are you thinking of leaving the teaching profession in the next two years?

  • 46% said yes
  • 54% responded no
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Media captionRebecca Porter says the rewards outweigh the pressures

Gafyn Sion Styff was a head of PE at a south Wales school but quit five years ago after becoming stressed. It came to a low point when he broke down in front of his head teacher.

He now runs his own cleaning business, employing 50 people and has a "fabulous" work-life balance.

"Music, drama and PE teachers are best known for giving up free time but a lot of other teachers are also doing that now because of the pressure to reach certain targets. It's very difficult to switch off from it.

"Teaching is hugely rewarding - if you have a good department, good staff, back up from senior managers and pupils that want to work, I can't imagine a job that's more rewarding.

"But the reality is, things get in the way and stresses are created and if the pieces of the jigsaw aren't in place it can create extra problems."

Rebecca Porter has recently won a teaching award and is enjoying her job at Bryn Celyn Primary School, Cardiff but knows there are pressures.

"I'm young, I don't have a family at the moment - other commitments can make it more difficult."

Many teachers also raised concerns about their mental and physical health as the reason for considering their future in the profession.

The survey also casts light on some of the challenges facing schools as they face up to cuts to their budgets.

Teachers say there has been a cut in the number off support staff, fewer courses on offer on the curriculum and a reduction in activities such as school trips.

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The Welsh government said it recognised it was a challenging time for the education system and why support for teaching professionals was "at the very heart" of the changes that were being made.

"We want to work with teachers to implement improvements while at the same time support them in their work and raise the esteem in which they are held," said a spokesman.

"We also want to ensure our teachers are not overburdened which is why there are a number of statutory provisions in force aimed at ensuring teachers have a suitable work/life balance."

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