A conference held by teachers, lecturers and academics has highlighted how acute low funding at schools across the country is having a massive impact on the mental health of teachers and students.
Helen Kitching, the recently elected chair of the British Psychological Society, Division of Academics, Researchers and Teachers (DARTP), is very clear that mental health issues for teachers and students are on the rise.
Recent research shows that heightened teacher stress levels significantly raises the cortisol levels of students in the classroom, causing brain fog and impact on learning.
The rise in mental health issues for teachers can begin before a job even starts. Helen says the pressure is piled on for teachers from as early as the interview stage. It is not uncommon for teachers to be asked to guarantee that their students will achieve between an A* and B grade.
Delivering these high grades not only puts massive pressures on teachers but minimises the teacher’s ability to support students who are suffering from a mental health crisis.
Helen, who also chairs the standing committee for pre-tertiary education and is head of psychology at a free school in East Sussex, reflects the views of the many teachers who attended the event by saying that burned out teachers often stay and carry on working.
Helen, who is also a mental health lead at her school, explained there is a ‘hell of a lot of pressure to not go off’. Teachers are encouraged to stay and teach students despite being totally burned out.
The British Psychological Society DARTP is calling for mental health leads in schools to support teachers and students alike.
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