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Thursday, 5 April, 2001, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
Teaching 'in deep crisis'
Nigel de Gruchy
Mr de Gruchy says teachers are disillusioned
Nearly two thirds (63%) of teachers have considered leaving their jobs within the past five years, a survey for the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers suggested.

The National Opinion Poll survey of 1,007 NASUWT members found 30% felt none of the political party had the right policies for education.

Any profession where 63% have considered leaving in the last five years is a profession in deep crisis

Nigel de Gruchy
Paperwork was found to be teachers' biggest concern in their job, with 44% citing it as their single most worry, 33 cited workload as their concern and 17% said working hours.

Disruptive and violent pupils were the main concern of over a quarter (26%) of those surveyed.

"The poll suggests a great disillusionment among teachers following four years' experience of 'education, education, education'", the general secretary of the NASUWT, Nigel de Gruchy, said.

"High hopes have drained away in a flood of initiatives. David Blunkett was right to identify 'not raising the morale of teachers' as his great failure.

'Deep crisis'

"Any profession where 63% have considered leaving in the last five years is a profession in deep crisis," Mr de Gruchy said.

The proportion leaving the profession is far lower now than before 1997

Department for Education
But the Department for Education said there were more teachers in post than at any time for a decade.

"The proportion leaving the profession is far lower now than before 1997," a spokesman said.

"We have halved the paperwork we sent schools in the first two terms this year compared to the first two terms last year.

"We're always happy to look at further practical ways of reducing unnecessary paperwork and workload while balancing that with the importance of improving standards and achievement," he said.

'Whirlpool of bureaucracy'

The Shadow Education Secretary, Theresa May, said the survey showed that teachers were turning their backs on Labour.

"It is no wonder because Labour have cast them adrift in a whirlpool of bureaucracy and pointless initiatives to the point where large sections of the profession are completely demoralised.

"Teachers need to be given back their freedom and professional respect," Mrs May said.

Labour tops list

But the survey found that Labour remained the party of first preference for most NASUWT members, with 42% saying they would vote Labour at the general election expected later this year.

The Liberal Democrats were second choice, with 19% pledging their vote to the party and 11% backing the Conservatives.

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See also:

02 Apr 01 | Mike Baker
Chasing the teachers' vote
17 Mar 01 | Mike Baker
Warning over teacher action
12 Feb 01 | Education
Loans deal to lure new teachers
25 Mar 01 | Education
Hague targets school red tape
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