An exodus of teachers is set to leave the profession within the next two years, a union survey reveals.

According to the findings from the National Education Union (NEU), one in five teachers say they are planning to leave the profession within the next two years.

They say their decision has been spurred on by excessive workloads.

More worryingly, 40% of teachers and school leaders say they will leave teaching in the next five years.

In addition to the high workload, teachers say they are under pressure from excessive accountability and they also point to pressures of dealing with school performance tables and Ofsted inspections.

Efforts to improve teachers’ pay and conditions

While the government has been making efforts to improve teachers’ pay and conditions, ministers may be worried that recently trained teachers say they also want to leave.

The survey highlights that 26% of teachers who have less than five years of experience say they will quit teaching by 2024.

One respondent to the survey said: “The job is no longer about children and it’s a 60 hour week to push children’s achievement data.”

Another teacher complained that they are working 70 hours a week and have done so for several years, which is affecting their health and family life.

The NEU’s Kevin Connolly, the joint general secretary, said: “As long as the main drivers of the performance-based system remain in place, schools will be in the grip of over-regulation, a lack of trust and a culture of fear.

“We need a major rethink and drastic action from government if we need to stop good teachers leaving the profession.”

Delegates will discuss excessive working hours and workload

The union is holding its annual conference and delegates will discuss excessive working hours and workload as well as bullying.

Of the 8,600 teachers and school leaders surveyed, 56% also say their work-life balance has worsened over the past year, while 31% say it’s unchanged. For 12% they say there has been an improvement.

In terms of work-life balance, senior school leaders, as well as heads of department are among the worst affected, with 66% of them complaining that there has been a deterioration in their work-life balance.

A Department for Education spokesman said the government has been working with teachers and school leaders in a bid to create a workload reduction toolkit, along with practical resources and advice.

‘Tackling schools’ excessive data burdens’

He added: “We are also tackling schools’ excessive data burdens and simplifying the system of accountability for targeting as well as working with Ofsted to ensure workload is considered as part of a school’s inspection judgement.”

The survey of teachers also asked them what the one thing would be to improve their job over the coming year, with many calling for a reduction in their workload with others pointing to over-assessment and heavy marking being their main issues to resolve.