Lecturers in FE have the lowest levels of positive wellbeing and “stand out” as having high levels of anxiety among educators, a study has found.

The Education Policy Institute (EPI) today published an analysis of national data examining the latest trends on teacher wellbeing in England following “a growing list of headlines” which indicated their mental health is worsening.

The think-tank said research has shown wellbeing is important as it affects staff retention and their students’ outcomes.

By looking at the Office for National Statistics’ annual population survey, the EPI found the anxiety of FE lecturers is “markedly above that of other graduates,” including school teachers.

Graph from the EPI analysis

The report said: “FE lecturers stand out with high levels of anxiety and the lowest levels of positive wellbeing among educators, a worrying observation given that FE has also suffered the greatest cut in funding of any phase of the past decade.”

In addition, the EPI highlighted that “all educators, with the exception of FE teachers, report worthwhileness levels well above the graduate average”.

The EPI said this data could be considered the closest measure to occupational wellbeing.

The future prospects for staff in the sector did not appear to be optimistic either.

The report concluded “wellbeing amongst senior leaders [in schools] and FE lecturers is either plateauing or falling, and anxiety is not improving”.

It said a possible explanation is that both FE lecturers and school senior leaders have had to deal with “increasing pressure from accountability systems and, particularly in the FE sector, budget squeezes”.

This decline took place while most educators’ wellbeing improved over the past seven years.

Other sources used in the research included the Department for Education, the Work Foundation, the National Foundation for Education Research, the Education Support Partnership, Ofsted and our sister newspaper FE Week.

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