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“My mental health is the worst it’s ever been” The Planbee Teacher Workload and Wellbeing Survey 2023

“My mental health is the worst it’s ever been” The Planbee Teacher Workload and Wellbeing Survey 2023

There has been a lot of talk about teacher wellbeing and retention by the DfE in recent years, and with good reason. According to our most recent survey, 70% of experienced teachers (having taught > 10 years) have considered leaving the profession in the last year - a figure that suggests things are going from bad to worse. 

Towards the end of the last academic year, PlanBee asked teachers to tell us about their workload and wellbeing. A total of 588 teachers responded to our survey and the feedback made for both interesting and concerning reading. 

The Department of Education has made apparent commitments to improving teacher workload and wellbeing since the pandemic. One of those commitments being to the Education Staff and Well-being charter. This was co-created in 2021 by the DfE and other educational organisations to support and highlight wellbeing in the education sector. In July 2023, the Secretary of State launched the ‘Workload Reduction Taskforce’. On the 15th January of this year, new measures were announced to enhance recruitment and retainment of teachers, including: 

  • £1.5 million of new investment to deliver a three-year mental health and wellbeing support package for school and college leaders
  • new guidance for schools – expected to be completed this spring - on how to prevent and tackle bullying and harassment of school staff
  • Early Recommendations from the Workload Reduction Taskforce aim to reduce the working week of teachers and leaders by five hours within the next three years. 

Sounds promising…but how many of these commitments will actually make their way to the front line? Are teachers feeling the impact? Or, is it all talk and no action?

Let’s dive into the statistics…


Do you know anyone who has left teaching in the last year pie chart
82.3% of respondents know someone who has left teaching in the last year


  • Nearly two-thirds of our survey respondents were experienced teachers (62%), having worked in the profession for more than ten years. 
  • Out of those experienced teachers, a whooping 70% have considered leaving in the past year. 
  • In addition, 70% of SATS year group teachers have thought about leaving in the past year. 
  • Out of more newly-qualified teachers, nearly half (46%) have already considered leaving the profession. 
Do you believe the Government have done enough to retain experienced teachers
93.5% of respondents do not believe the Government has done enough to retain experienced teachers


“overworked and underpaid”


  • Twice as many teachers feel that they do not have a good work-life balance compared to those who agree that they do have a good work-life balance (45.6% versus 22.2%).
  • A quarter of respondents stated that they do not feel good about the teaching profession (25.4%).
  • A slight glimmer of hope…despite the challenging working conditions, just over a third of teachers still feel good about the teaching profession (36.6%).
  • Only 8.2% of teachers do not work on the weekends.
  • Only 8.5% of teachers do not work on weekday evenings. 


We would like to set the record straight, right here, right now - for anyone who has ever suggested that teachers only work between 9am and 3pm…


  • Nearly three-quarters of teachers arrive at work between 7am and 8am with the remainder arriving between 6am and 7am (73%).
  • Over half of the teachers surveyed stated that they leave work between 5pm and 6pm with many leaving later than 6pm (55%).
  • Only 1.5% of teachers from our survey agree that the workload is improving. 
  • On the other hand, 60% of teachers said that schools do not have enough funding to enable good or better education for children.
  • Furthermore, a staggering 93% of teachers do not think the government has done enough to retain experienced teachers.


According to the 588 educators who responded to the survey, a combined 1,384 teachers have left the profession that they know of. This equates to around two teachers that have left primary teaching for every one of our respondents. 


School Minister Damian Hinds has recently revealed that thanks to the hard work and dedication of teachers, standards in education have risen significantly since this government took office in 2010, with 90% of schools now rated Good or Outstanding…


But this rise in standards could be to the detriment of teachers' wellbeing. Schools may now be rated more highly, but according to our survey, teachers’ mental health is at an all time low.


“My mental health is the worst it’s ever been and I have absolutely no life outside of teaching. I just want to have my evenings and weekends back.”


“The job is always high stress, incredible amounts of pressure are put on teachers and children.”


“The system no longer allows us to give the children the quality of education they deserve. I am miserable all the time, except for during the holidays. Teaching seriously affects my mental health. More and more is expected with less and less support and fewer and fewer resources.”


When asked why teachers have considered leaving the profession, a huge majority mentioned a lack of work-life balance and workload. Here is some of the things our respondents had to say:


“Amount of work needed to be done not reflective with the pay, not having enough time with my own children, no perks to the job”


“The level of stress and the lack of support. Never feeling like what you do is good enough. The constant pressure of ofsted.”


“Unrealistic workload and expectations. I teach mixed age in a small school so everything is twice as hard. Challenging behaviour but no support from necessary resources and services. The workload AFTER the children have gone.”


“Work-life balance is non-existent during term time!”


“Work life balance, overworked and underpaid, constant pressure and daily tasks becoming overwhelming, not enough quality time spent with family.”


“Workload, unrealistic expectations, lack of work life balance, lack of support for SEND children”


It is sad to see so many of our fellow educators struggling, with so many brilliant teachers leaving the profession because of the unrealistic expectations and high pressure put upon them. With more recommendations from the Teacher Workload Taskforce expected in Spring 2024, we hope to see some change on the front line for our dedicated teachers. 



PlanBee has always been about trying to ease the workload burden for primary teachers but the pressures and challenges seem to only be increasing. So we wanted to do more...


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