Herald ‘writer’ fails two tests in one headline about teachers who seem less stressed than many of the rest of you
You’ll have guessed, I’m sure that ‘nearly half of teachers’ is not remotely true and putting speech marks around the whole headline would make it more accurate but still useless.
The Herald piece opens with:
‘Nearly half of Scottish teachers have seen a medical professional in the last year as a result of stress and workload, according to a survey. A poll by the NASUWT teaching union also found one in ten teachers had been prescribed anti-depressants to help them cope, while seven per cent have increased their reliance on prescription drugs.’
I’ll come to the ‘nearly half’ claim but I was immediately struck by the NASUWT (Mainly English members?) claim of ‘one in ten.’ In 2018, research for the Guardian suggested that ‘1 in 6 people have been prescribed anti-depressants.’
‘Teachers much less likely to be stressed than average person!’
As for the ‘nearly half’, once more it’s a tiny self-selecting sample:
‘Nearly half (46%) experienced anxiety, depression or stress’
That ‘or stress’ bit throws the whole assertion into doubt, without even seeing the question asked, as to its seriousness. Doesn’t every employee feel some stress? Are there jobs with no stress at all? Not unless you’re a psychopath.
The NASUWT has around 300 000 members across the UK. 5 000 responded. So, we have a typically unreliable self-selecting sample heavily biased in favour of those who do feel anxiety, depression or stress. So, 1.66% responded and 46% of them experienced anxiety, depression or stress’ giving us 0.76%. Statistically this is just useless on both sampling validity and size.
Further evidence putting teacher anxiety, depression and stress can be found here:
On the basis of the above, teaching professionals have only a slightly higher (15%) prevalence than the average (13%) but this is lower than for several others. Notably, the study also found lack of job security, to be a major factor, regardless of occupational role. This is of course not a common risk factor among teachers, in comparison to many other occupations.
Useful evidence for the specifically Scottish context is below:
As the Scottish NoMedia are fed on imagined subject shortages, we see the remarkable facts on the somewhat more important matter of how many teachers we actually have to teach those subjects properly and in manageable class sizes. These data…
In a Freedom of Information request from an anonymous source: https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-19-00473/ Could the source have been hoping for a trend going the other way? Regardless of the Scottish Labour Branch led EIS action, the above data merely confirms a wide…
In the Independent today: ‘Nearly three in five teachers in only their first year in the profession are already not convinced that they will stay in teaching – and rising mental health problems are partly to blame, research finds. The…
Once more we’re grateful to a Tory MSP, trawling for bad news with a parliamentary question, but stumbling on good news we can report. See this from Tom Mason (Tory MSP) with reply from SNP minister John Swinney