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Well-being and Burnout in Teaching: Unpacking the Causes and Tackling the Problems

This project, conducted jointly between the University of Leeds, the National Education Union, and the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers, examines the causes of well-being and burnout in teaching, generating a range of practitioner-focused guides and support materials, focused on tackling stress, improving well-being and mental health, and reducing burnout.

This much-needed work comes amidst a crisis in the teaching profession. Teacher absences from work are increasing, and nearly one in three teachers leave the profession within five years of qualifying (Department for Education, 2017). Teachers are twice as likely as the average worker to suffer work-related stress and burnout, whilst poor mental health amongst teachers is known to be increasing (National Foundation for Educational Research, 2017). Meanwhile, government recruitment initiatives, such as providing financial incentives to enter the teaching profession, appear to be failing.

This project analyses the causes of burnout and poor well-being rather than the symptoms. Investigating resources to reduce burnout and improve management practices can help reduce teacher absence and staff turnover and thus teacher retention. In turn, these understandings will help to tackle the negative consequences of teacher burnout for children’s education and well-being, generating economic benefits and enhancing social cohesion.

This project is funded in part by the Leeds Social Science Institute through the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, in partnership with the two largest teaching unions, the NEU and the NASUWT.