Member of the Welsh Parliament for Monmouth, Nick Ramsay, this week in the Senedd questioned the Welsh Government on the support being provided for the mental wellbeing of teachers.
Addressing the Education Minister, Kirsty Williams MS, Nick said: “Minister, in November, academics at Cardiff and Swansea universities published the results of a joint survey. They spoke to around 13,000 people; half of those were identifying with some degree of mental health issues, and 20 per cent said they were severely affected. This was particularly relevant to younger people and women and, of course, both of those groups are to be found within our primary school sector where there is a higher number of women involved there as teachers. What discussions have you had with the education system, with the trade unions about ways that these mental health issues can be addressed in future? In terms of recruitment, has any assessment been made about the potential effect on recruitment, because it strikes me that as we come out of the pandemic, the last thing we want is there to be a negative impact on recruitment into our primary schools?”
Kirsty Williams MS responded: ”Thank you, Nick, for that question. My officials have weekly conversations with the trade unions, discussing a wide range of issues and, clearly, the well-being of school and support staff features strongly. The Welsh Government has had very positive feedback from the services that the Education Support charity has been able to put in place this year, and we will continue to reflect on what more we can do to support the profession throughout the pandemic, and the period following.
“With regard to recruitment, what I can say, Nick, is that we have seen this year very strong recruitment to our initial teacher education programmes. I think the spotlight that has been put on the importance of education, and the crucial role that educators play in the life of children and young people and, indeed, supporting communities, has inspired very many people to think about a career in teaching, and I'm very pleased to see that. “