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Teachers not stressed says Sir Michael Wilshaw

The outspoken head of Ofsted has hit out at teachers who complain their jobs are "too stressful" and make excuses for poor performance.

Are teachers stressed?

The outspoken head of Ofsted has hit out at teachers who complain their jobs are "too stressful" and make excuses for poor performance.

Sir Michael Wilshaw suggested head teachers needed reminding what stress really was. Speaking at an education conference, he said heads were better paid and had more power than ever before.

But the ATL teaching union said official figures demonstrated how stressful teaching can be.

Sir Michael told a conference of independent school heads in East Sussex that in the past, poor teaching and poor performance had gone unchallenged.

Sir Michael said that times had changed and that heads were now in charge, with better pay and more independence, power and resources than before.

"We need heads who know what a privileged position they are in now and who can use their new-found independence well - people who roll up their sleeves and get on with improving their schools, even in the most difficult circumstances. What we don't need are leaders in our schools whose first recourse is to blame someone else - whether it's Ofsted, the local education authority, the government or a whole host of other people."

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said Ofsted should concentrate on helping schools improve and stop criticising teachers and heads.
"It is really not helpful for Michael Wilshaw to rubbish the amount of stress teachers are under. The pressures on teaching staff and heads are enormous and growing due to the constant churn of government initiatives, tinkering with the curriculum, introducing new tests, and pressure to get pupils through exams to prove their school is performing well. And Ofsted is part of the problem with its continual changing of the inspections goal posts, and ridiculous demands for lessons to be exciting at all times. Teaching is the occupation with the third highest amount of work-related stress according to Health and Safety Executive figures."

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