Over 25 percent of senior school teachers are considering leaving teaching due to onerous workloads, a new YouGov poll suggests.

However, a majority of professionals surveyed were open to staying put, especially if workloads lessened.

The poll, commissioned by the Education Support Partnership charity and the TES newspaper, showed 27 percent of senior school leaders were considering leaving teaching within 1-2 years.

Of all 865 teachers and school leaders surveyed, 43 percent said they were considering leaving teaching after five years.

The charity operates a free and confidential 24-hour helpline for education professionals, and says it takes more than 30,000 calls a year from those experiencing difficulties at work.

The charity’s chief executive, Julian Stanley, said the poll findings reflected “what so many tell us when they call in crisis: that many staff working at every level in schools are feeling overwhelmed”.

‘Given up or lost the will’

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT headteachers’ union said the figures were alarming.

He commented:

“You’re always going to get a proportion that is ready to leave, but that’s high.”

In all, only 7 per cent of teachers and leaders said “nothing” would positively influence them to stay in education.

The biggest factor that could influence their decision was workload – 79 per cent of senior leaders and 76 per cent of all teachers and leaders said reducing workload would influence them to stay.

Mr Hobby said the fact that a majority of teachers and school leaders could still be persuaded to stay “exposes how badly managed the system is”.

He added:

“These are not people who have completely given up or lost the will to work – they’re people who feel they no longer can.”

A Department for Education spokeswoman said:

“We recognise the importance of schools being able to retain good teachers as well as recruit them, which is why we have focused actions in key areas that are of concern to teachers – like tackling unnecessary workload and improving teachers’ ability to manage poor pupil behaviour.

Our latest Workforce Statistics show that teacher retention has been broadly stable for the past 20 years. We’ve also seen a significant rise in the number of teachers returning to the profession after some time out, with returners having increased by 20 per cent in the four years up to 2015.”