Shorten school week to help stressed teachers, says head

Stressed teacher

20 per cent of teachers experience workplace stress. Image: PA

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A north London school is letting children go home early on Friday to relieve stress on teachers.

Speaking to talkRADIO’s Eamonn Holmes, Forest Gate Community School head Simon Elliot said the school would be following in the footsteps of some of the country’s top independent schools.

A recent survey by the National Foundation for Educational Research found that one in five teachers feel tense about their job most or all of the time, compared with 13 per cent of similar professionals.



Mr Elliot said: ““This is all about making the school environment better for teachers so they can be freed up to create better lessons, so they enjoy the job better and we increase the number of great teachers in our school.

“One of the top 3 professions for stress is teaching and anything we can do to reduce that so we create an outstanding workforce has got to be welcomed I think.”


'Brave decision'

Mr Elliot said that 12 times a year the extra Friday afternoons would be used to train teachers, but for the rest of the year he will be encouraging staff to go home.

He added that the school was not cutting hours and would not save any money by following this strategy.

He said: “Effectively we are taking a very brave decision to give back to teachers time and reduce peripheral tasks and to really focus on what matters which is giving teachers time to deliver outstanding teaching and learning.”

“If you had a magic wand you might try to reorganize how schools are run. They are not particularly flexible and there is such a talent waste, with more trained teachers outside the profession,” Mr Elliot added.