Mary-Jo Hill

02 Dec 2020
Headteachers, teachers and school staff are between the workers most affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Exhausted headteachers and teachers are planning to leave the profession after the coronavirus pandemic is controlled. And this is very bad news.

The COVID-19 pandemic is probably one of the most difficult and challenging moments the world has faced in the 21st Century. The levels of anxiety, fear, stress and loss are unprecedented for recent times. Unfortunately, headteachers, teachers and school staff are between the workers most affected by this crisis.

Besides dealing with the virus itself, other matters such as workload, small budgets, stressed students and parents added extra pressure to already very demanding positions. These extremely stressful factors are leading headteachers and teachers to the breaking point.

A recent NAHT poll revealed the alarming prospect that ‘schools in England are facing an exodus of headteachers, with almost half considering leaving the profession after the pandemic’. Even worse, the Teacher Wellbeing Index 2020 reveals that stress levels among educational staff rose from 62% to 84% between July and October. Moreover, only 8% of those professionals accessed supervision as a safe space to discuss issues.

Not a new problem

It is very concerning to read such results. Furthermore, that shows how insufficient and poor was the support offered to these professionals is in the light of one of the biggest health crises of the century.

Let’s not fool ourselves. Support for headteachers professional development and mental wellbeing has always been faulty. The number of professionals dropping the education field was growing systematically in the past few years. The increase in this figure during a pandemic might be seen by many as a natural trend. However, to us – that are or have been part of the field somehow – it shows more deep and serious problems. Headteachers, teachers and educational staff are often alone. Isolated, scared, overloaded, risking their health daily and their families as well. They are dealing with way more than we can even imagine. Sadly, they already were when the pandemic hit. They deserve better. 57% of educational professionals would not feel confident in disclosing unmanageable stress issues to their employer. Confidential and independent support is available.

If this prospect confirms itself, schools in England post-COVID will face a very dark moment. With a lot of experienced headteachers, teachers and staff leaving the posts, we should brace ourselves for a great decline in education quality and pupil’s motivation and wellbeing.

Acess to supervision

Supervision and professional development are not a luxury, it is a very pressing need. The extremely low rates of professionals accessing this are alarming. Moreover, at each new academic year that starts the educational field gets harder. The coronavirus pandemic just added more pressure to an already very highly stressful environment. Staff need a structured, safe space to speak their minds, understand the challenges and recharge themselves to face a very harsh reality.

Finally, education professionals are asking for help. It is past the time to just listen. Things have to change.

If you are in search of supervision or 121 coaching, please contact us. We are ready to help you and your staff during this very difficult time.