Nearly one in five teachers forced to do second jobs amid rising costs – poll

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Nearly one in five teachers have been forced to take on a second job amid rising living costs, a survey suggests.

The majority of teachers (85%) said they have had to reduce their home heating to save money amid the cost-of-living crisis, while nearly a quarter (23%) of teachers said they have been forced to skip meals.

A survey, of more than 17,800 National Education Union (NEU) members in England and Wales, found that 18% of teachers, and 21% of support staff, have been forced to take on a second job due to the rising cost of living.

The findings were released on the third day of the NEU’s annual conference in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

The poll suggests – once “don’t know” answers are excluded – that 41% of teacher members plan to leave the profession within five years, and almost half (48%) of support staff members plan to quit by 2028.

One respondent said: “The constant goodwill required in order to do the job is no longer viable. I feel like I’m constantly living on the edge of a breakdown but I have no choice but to carry on.

“My wage no longer lasts the month and I am constantly overdrawn.”

Delegates at the NEU’s annual conference are expected to vote on an urgent motion on Ofsted’s impact on school staff’s mental health and wellbeing following the death of headteacher Ruth Perry.

The motion, which will be debated on Wednesday, calls on school leader members to refuse to participate as inspectors until a full health and safety assessment of the inspection system is carried out.

It calls on the union to continue its campaign to replace Ofsted, and to demand that all work-related suicide data is collected and collated to assess the risks to health created by “toxic” accountability pressures.

One respondent said: “I regularly use food banks because my salary doesn’t cover my outgoings, including rent, electric and gas bills.

“It’s embarrassing that I’m a teacher, thought to be a respectable well-paid job, but I can’t afford to live.”

Some members reported staying late at work to keep warm due to soaring energy costs.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU, said: “It is a stark reality for current education staff that so many are having to take on a second job in order to survive.

“This is despite the high working hours of their principal job, the stress this creates, and the assumption in the wider world that teaching is a relatively well-paid job.

“That so many should be leaving the profession or intend to do so in the very near future, can come as no surprise. This doesn’t prevent it from remaining a tragedy, and a waste of talent.”

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