A third of teachers 'will leave by 2008'

Education Editor,Richard Garner
Tuesday 07 January 2003 01:00

More than one third of teachers say they will have quit the profession within five years, a Mori opinion poll published today reveals.

They cite increasing workload and poor pupil behaviour as two key reasons for wanting to leave their jobs. The findings would mean 140,000 teachers walking out by 2008, threatening the Government's drive to raise standards in schools.

The survey, for the new General Teaching Council and The Guardian newspaper, is published as talks between teachers' leaders and ministers over reducing workloads are due to conclude. It will be used as ammunition by union leaders pressing for reductions in working hours.

Ministers are offering teachers the equivalent of a day off from the classroom every fortnight for marking and preparation but insist classroom assistants should be allowed to run lessons. This has been a stumbling block for the National Union of Teachers.

The survey of 70,000 teachers found 56 per cent said morale was lower now than when they joined the profession and that even 15 per cent of newly qualified teachers said they would be gone in five years.

In addition to workload and pupil behaviour, teachers cited an overload of government initiatives and the culture of target-setting as reasons for wanting to quit. A third said they would not have entered the profession if they had their time again.

The teachers were contacted by Mori through the register of the profession held by the GTC. The survey's findings will be underlined by Carol Adams, chief executive of the GTC, when she addresses the North of England education conference in Warrington today.

David Miliband, minister for School Standards, said last night: "Nearly two thirds of teachers are happy with their career choice. We should stop talking down the profession.''

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