Published: 16th July 2019

From: Education Support Partnership

Education Support Partnership has expanded its free and confidential helpline service to include access for all trainee teachers.

The charity’s specialist helpline is run by trained and accredited counsellors who manage almost 10,000 cases of education staff in crisis every year. Demand for the service reached record levels last year, with an increase of 28% in annual cases compared to two years ago.

The service provides access to in the moment support, up to six sessions of structured telephone counselling, and assistance with referrals for longer-term treatments.

Richard Faulkner, Head of Policy and Research at the charity, said:

“Our research points towards trainee and early career teachers being over 25% more likely to experience a mental health problem compared to their colleagues.

“We want to ensure that those entering the profession have access to the highest quality emotional support from day one of their training.”

Last Autumn, over 33,000 people across the UK1 began initial teacher training.

Hemali, a trainee teacher at a secondary school, said:

“The helpline was very supportive in just listening to my worries and helping me cope better. This has particularly helped me cope better with my workload and balance it with my personal life.”

Last year, 86% of users said the helpline had a positive impact on their situation and the service received a 93% independent clinical audit score.

Education Support Partnership is calling on the Department for Education to make wellbeing and mental health a central component of early career support.

Richard Faulkner, added:

“The upcoming review of ITT content, together with the Teacher and Leader Wellbeing Expert Advisory Group, both provide opportunities to consider the need for additional training around the management of personal wellbeing and development of self-efficacy. These are both essential due to the emotional and relational aspects of any teaching role.

“This needs to occur alongside a comprehensive wellbeing support package for early career teachers, plus a reduction in the pressures imposed at a policy level and within some schools for those in starting out as NQTs”.

The charity is also currently working directly with teacher training providers and SCITTs to offer an enhanced Employee Assistance Programme, which includes access to response face-to-face counselling.

Any trainee teacher who is feeling overwhelmed, fearful, worried, anxious or disinterested in life should call the helpline on 08000 562 561, no matter how insignificant they think their problems may be. The service is available 24/7 to offer free, confidential support.

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