Teachers warned over 'stress' of social nights

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The Independent Online

Teachers are being warned by their union against having regular nights out with their colleagues because it could add to their stress levels.

An appeal by ministers for schools to achieve a better work/life balance for teaching staff has led to many headteachers organising regular social activities and meals out. But the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) wants members to think twice before backing such an idea.

"Weekly social evenings at the homes of members of staff on a rotational basis and frequent joint meals out are not a solution to work/life balance," it says in a circular to its 160,000 members. "In fact, they may become a source of social or even financial pressure for some. They may consider it an obligation to spend precious time outside work with colleagues or may find it an expensive commitment and participate only because they do not wish to be thought of as 'antisocial'."

Chris Keates, deputy general secretary of the NASUWT, said: "Newly qualified teachers were finding it quite expensive because senior members of staff were choosing expensive restaurants for the meals."