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An opinion poll in The Guardian (p1) has found that half of England's teachers expect to quit the profession within...
An opinion poll in The Guardian (p1) has found that half of England's teachers expect to quit the profession within a decade.

The ICM poll suggests that more than 200,000 teachers are planning to retire or seek alternative employment, mainly because they cannot stand the heavy workload, stress and bureaucracy that now accompanies the job.

According to the poll, more than a third of teachers under the age of 35 expect to quit within 10 years and 46% within 15 years. The most serious problems were in primary schools which have undergone the biggest reforms during David Blunkett's tenure as education secretary.

Among primary staff, 31% do not expect to be teaching in five years, 56% in 10 years and 77% in 15 years. In secondary schools, 26% do not expect to be teaching in five years, 51% in 10 years and 71% in 15 years.

Workloads, stress and bureaucracy were the biggest factors in decision to leave the profession, rather than poor pay, lack of job satisfaction or discipline problems.

A spokesman for the DfEE said comments about quitting in 10 or 15 years were not a reliable guide to eventual behaviour, as the number of teachers leaving the profession was stable and the number of entrants had been rising since 1996.

'Our reform of teachers' pay and proposals for their professional development will transform teaching and make it more attractive than ever.'

But Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said ministers should heed the message of the poll. 'For the children's sake, we hope teachers won't leave the profession. But it is a measure of how far the government has ignored teachers' concerns that so many wish to do so.'

Nigel de Gruchy, the general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: 'More and more teachers will quit unless the government acts to reduce workload with a contract protecting staff from unlimited hours and ever-increasing demands.'

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