Commenting on the publication of the second volume of the OECD international survey TALIS 2018, Teachers and School Leaders as Valued Professionals, and the associated national report for England, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:

“This pandemic is showing everyone what vital work school staff do, for pupils, families and communities. TALIS shows us that under normal circumstances, teachers are overworked, stressed and looking to leave the profession. Right now, they are, once again, working above and beyond their duty to ensure that children are safe, cared for and keep learning.

“It is an absolutely shocking state of affairs when twice as many teachers in England are reporting that their work causes them stress compared with the international average. Worse still, while England has the youngest teaching workforce across the OECD, younger teachers are even more likely to report stress than their older counterparts.

“TALIS also shows that teachers in England are twice as likely as the OECD average to report that their job negatively impacts on their mental and physical health and on the time they have for their personal life. Teachers cited having to do too much marking, being held responsible for students’ achievements and having too much administrative work as key stress drivers. Not surprisingly, the survey reports that a quarter of teachers under 50 want to leave the profession within five years – again higher than the OECD average; and that a quarter of teachers under 50 wanted to leave the profession within five years – once again higher than OECD average.

"Teachers’ long working hours remain a serious problem. TALIS shows that despite an increase in the numbers of teachers working part-time, these teachers are putting in a full working week – an average of 35.5 hours. This chimes with what NEU members are telling us about being forced to work part time in order to cope with unmanageable workload and expectations on their time.

“The finding that only 10% of teachers and school leaders in England feel valued by policy-makers speaks volumes. Teaching professionals are sending a very clear message to the Government. Unless it can demonstrate that it is listening and taking positive action then we are likely to see a worsening teacher recruitment and retention crisis. Already we have a serious teacher shortage that has resulted in larger classes, teachers teaching outside their subject areas and a reduction in curriculum choices. TALIS is a wake-up call.

“Teachers' willingness in this crisis to step up and be heroes in their communities must be recognised. When this pandemic is over, the lessons of TALIS must be learnt. Government must prioritise teacher wellbeing, professional collaboration and meaningful opportunities for teachers to influence education policy.

“Teachers will come out of this crisis stronger and more willing to speak out about what's wrong with our current education system. Government will have to listen.”

Editor’s Note
The Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) is the largest international survey asking teachers and school leaders about their working conditions and learning environments. It provides a barometer of the profession every five years. Results from the 2018 cycle explore and examine the various dimensions of teacher and school leader professionalism across education systems.

The 2018 TALIS survey covers about 260,000 teachers in 15,000 schools across 48 countries and economies.

TALIS 2018 Volume 1 was published in June 2019. Volume 2 - Teachers and School Leaders as Valued Professionals was published on Monday, 23 March, 2020. 

This volume provides an analysis of teachers’ and school leaders’ perceptions of the value of their profession, their work-related well-being and stress, and their satisfaction with their working conditions. It also provides a description of teachers’ and school leaders’ contractual arrangements, opportunities to engage in professional tasks such as collaborative teamwork.