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Friday, 08 September 2017

Study suggests half of UK's social workers and teachers are planning to quit

Written by John von Radowitz

Half of Britain's teachers and social workers are looking to leave their jobs in the next 18 months because of poor working conditions and stress, a study suggests.

Spending cuts leading to lack of staff are largely responsible for the near-crisis situation, according to research author psychologist Dr Jermaine Ravalier.

The findings come from a series of studies involving more than 16,000 participants who voiced their concerns in national polls.

High workloads and the burden of red tape were bigger reasons for people wanting to quit their jobs than low pay, said Dr Ravalier (pictured), from Bath Spa University.

Social workers had case loads that were "often unimaginable" while a lack of support staff left teachers facing ever-increasing administrative loads with inadequate preparation time.

Both groups often worked far beyond their contracted hours - an average of 10 hours per week more for social workers and over 18 hours for teachers.

Speaking at the British Science Festival in Brighton, Dr Ravalier said: "I think there's a potential for a crisis.

"If only half of those said they'd leave actually do so in the next 18 months, our public services are about to be hit with a huger exodus of staff. If and when this happens, it is not only hugely expensive, but will also have massive impacts on our next generation as well as those who require the help and support of our social services.

"The role played by social workers and teachers is vital for the whole of society, so the findings of this work should be a catalyst for greater investment in our public services."

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: "Latest statistics show that around 90% of teachers continue in the profession following their first year of teaching - this has been the case since 1996.

"The number of former teachers coming back to the classroom has also risen significantly, from 13,090 in 2011 to 14,200 in 2016. We are actively addressing the issues that teachers cite as reasons for leaving the profession, for example by supporting schools to reduce unnecessary workload.

"We are supporting the recruitment and training of social workers, investing over £800 million in bursaries and training programmes, such as Frontline and Step Up to Social Work.

"We are also creating practice-based career pathways to enable social workers to progress without losing touch with the frontline."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Bath Spa University.