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Survey Finds Most British Teachers Have Thought About Quitting

by Kathy Jones on October 4, 2010 at 9:04 PM
 Survey Finds Most British Teachers Have Thought About Quitting

A new survey has found that more than 70 percent of British teachers have considered quitting the profession because of badly-behaved pupils.

A poll of nearly 400 teachers found that over nine in 10 believe behaviour in the classroom has worsened over the course of their career.


Nearly half said behaviour in their current, or most recent school was "inadequate", while only one in five said they would say it was "good" or "outstanding".

Over half said they are deliberately verbally distracted by pupils on a daily basis over their last year of teaching, while nearly a third said pupils refusing to work had been a daily occurrence.

The 2010 Behaviour Survey, conducted by the Teacher Support Network, Parentline Plus and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) found that dealing with unruly pupils is harming teachers' health and leaving many thinking about a career change.

More than a third said they had taken time off work, while two fifths said they had applied for a job in another school. And more than eight in 10 (81.2%) said they had experienced stress, anxiety or depression.

Julian Stanley, Chief Executive of Teacher Support Network said: "We know from the marked increase in the use of our behaviour-related services over the last year, that poor behaviour is at the heart of many of teachers' health and wellbeing issues.

"We are not saying that behaviour is an issue in every classroom, in every school, but we are concerned that poor behaviour is leading some great teachers to leave the profession. Parents and teachers need to work together to create safe, respectful school communities, where teachers, and by extension their children, can reach their full potential."

The survey also reveals that a third of teachers think that powers to search pupils for pornography, cigarettes, drugs, alcohol and other legal highs are "essential" in improving pupil behaviour, with 42 percent saying powers to search for pupils stolen property or other items that could pose a threat to safety were essential.

A study published by the Department for Education earlier this week found that the Labour government's measures to hold parents accountable for a child's unruly behaviour have failed to make an impact in schools.

The DfE announced new proposals in August designed to improve behaviour in schools, including allowing heads and school staff to search pupils for mobile phones, pornography and cigarettes and improving guidance on using force in the classroom.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said: "This is yet another example of why we are handing powers back to teachers and removing red tape so schools can tackle bad behaviour.

"It is simply wrong that teachers feel unable to assert themselves and take control of the classroom. Teachers need to know they are in control, they can deal with out-of-control and disruptive pupils, and this department and the justice system will back them."

The survey questioned 389 people in September.

Source: AFP
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