03 March 2021
With all children returning to classrooms next week, we’re urging the government to provide dedicated wellbeing services and support for teachers, to avoid a decline in psychological wellbeing.
The Division of Academics, Researchers and Teachers in Psychology (DARTP), wants to see properly resourced and funded support services in place for teachers so they can access the support they need and deserve. With talk of ‘catch up’ classes, summer schools and the news of teacher-assessed grades replacing exams, there are concerns that a workforce that is already under intense pressure will begin to crack.
Helen Kitching, Fellow of the BPS, chair of DARTP and a Head of Psychology at a school in the South East, said: “Teachers have been working incredibly hard throughout this pandemic, keeping schools open for key worker and vulnerable children, as well as delivering both online and face to face lessons. They’ve also been working hard to support their students' wellbeing during very challenging circumstances.
“It is important that teachers who are feeling burnt out from a very challenging year of teaching do not feel pressured to provide additional classes and it is welcome that ‘summer schools’ will be voluntary. If teachers are not able to work into the summer holidays, then schools and colleges should be looking to engage professional tutors to support children. We would like to see activities that promote wellbeing taking precedence.
“Despite the announcements around teacher assessed grades replacing exams we are still waiting to hear what we can use for assessments and how there will be parity of scoring across the country. As psychologists, we know that uncertainty, added to an already stressful and pressured environment can have a damaging impact on people’s wellbeing.
"Teachers are being asked to do more and more, and the government must ensure that there is additional professional support. We would also like to see an acknowledgment of the additional burden on teachers’ time by a one-off payment as has been agreed for teachers in Scotland.”