ASCL Cymru comment on National Education Workforce Survey Report

Eithne Hughes, Director of ASCL Cymru comments on the 2021 National Education Workforce Survey report.
Commenting on the 2021 National Education Workforce Survey report, Eithne Hughes, Director of ASCL Cymru, said:

The findings in this survey that more than a quarter of Welsh school leaders are considering leaving their role, moving to a different educational setting or retiring should set alarm bells ringing at the Welsh government.    

“The Education Minister and his team will be heavily reliant on the experience and goodwill of senior leaders when it comes to embedding the new curriculum into schools across Wales in just under two years’ time.

“The new curriculum is a landmark moment for education and potentially a game-changer for learners in Wales. It is vital that process is not derailed and there needs to be a very clear focus on the additional resource and time needed to introduce it and make it work following the disruption to education brought by the pandemic.

“That task will be made significantly more challenging if leaders move to different roles or leave the profession in the sort of numbers the survey indicates.

“Leaders in Wales have worked extremely hard during the period of unrelenting pressure brought about by the pandemic, as evidenced in responses to working hours in the survey. But they also did so during pre-pandemic times, to ensure the education delivered to young people across Wales is second to none, and it cannot be right that leaders are having to work an average of 11 hours a day.

“Senior leaders are overwhelmed by the amount of work they are required to do, with limited staffing and within very limited budgets. They have taken on even more responsibility during the pandemic and it therefore comes as no surprise that they are concerned about their wellbeing and increasingly worried about how their work-life balance has suffered.

“Education in Wales is at a critical point and the government needs to recognise the incredible commitment and professionalism of school leaders demonstrated in this survey and engage with them directly to discuss changes that could be made to their working lives to ensure they do not leave the profession