NQTs happier than other graduates, research shows

2020-03-09

Newly qualified teachers display greater levels of happiness than other graduates, new research has shown.


According to researchers at the UCL Institute of Education, NQTs reported greater levels of life satisfaction than their peers and displayed no signs of worse mental health or reduced social lives.


The study focused on data from the Next Steps cohort, which follows the lives of an estimated 16,000 people born in either 1989 or 1990.


Published in the British Journal of Educational Studies and funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the study did find that teachers work harder and suggest that their efforts are under-appreciated.


However, some 37% of newly qualified teachers said they were ‘very satisfied’ in their roles at the ages of 20 and 26, compared to 34% and 25% of office workers at the corresponding ages.


Three in ten teachers believes their hard work is rewarded, whereas that figure increases to 45% of all graduates.


Professor John Jerrim, the lead author of the study, suggested that more needs to be done to ensure that teachers are not undervalued, as it risks “harming the quality of education pupils receive”.


“More work needs to be done to understand exactly why young teachers feel this way, and education policymakers and school leaders to make greater efforts to show junior teachers that their hard work and dedication to the job is highly valued and sincerely appreciated,” he explained.


Compared to all graduates, the report found that NQTs are paid around £22 more per week than the average, although it was less than those in the health sector and office jobs.


Education programme head at the Nuffield Foundation, Cheryl Lloyd, described the report’s outlook on wellbeing as “reassuring” and reflected on the essential role that teachers have.


“New, returning and more experienced teachers have a vital role to play in education and it is important that we build a better understanding of how we can better attract and retain teachers,” she said.


Widespread teacher recruitment is expected to be needed in the coming years to deal with a 10% rise in pupil numbers between 2019 and 2023.


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