Why sabbaticals for teachers are a great idea

James Ski

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Could sabbaticals help relieve teachers’ stress and boost retention? They will certainly help; let’s find out more.

It was terrific to read the news earlier this month that the Department for Education is planning to introduce a sabbatical scheme for teachers.

Under the new proposals, teachers will be able to take between a term and a year away from conventional teaching. This time must be spent doing things that will benefit their profession, but the individual teachers get to choose what that is. Teachers can apply for the sabbatical after 10 years of tenure in the profession. On announcing the scheme, Education Secretary Damian Hinds said it would help ensure teaching remains ‘an attractive, fulfilling profession’.

33% of education professionals say their job makes them feel stressed most or all of the time (UK workforce average: 18%)

Wellbeing crisis

Something needs to be done to address the teachers’ wellbeing crisis that I talked about in my last education article.

Benefits of sabbaticals

While teachers sabbaticals are no magic bullet and much more needs to be done, they are a great idea which will bring many benefits. Here are just some of them:

53% have considered leaving education in the last 2 years because of health issues

  • Rejuvenation

After teaching week in and week out, with the all the workload and pressure that comes with it, it’s no surprise teachers feel burnt out and demotivated. After 10 years in the job without a break, this feeling must be even more prevalent. After a year away from the everyday pressures of teaching, teachers will return with a fresh vigour for the job. In fact, it will probably feel like having a new job.

  • Inspiration

However teachers spend this sabbatical time, they will learn new ways to improve in their profession. If they spend their time abroad or studying new ideas in teaching, it’s all great information they can apply when they go back to school. It will raise the overall level of teaching.

  • Fulfilment

When you’re a teacher, it’s hard to find time outside of the holidays to do much for yourself. Whatever dreams you have for self-improvement have to wait. If there’s a branch of education you always wanted to learn about, maybe gain a qualification in, you could do this in your sabbatical time.

  • Progression

It’s not just the teachers themselves who will benefit from their sabbatical. While they’re away, someone else will have to fill in for them. This helps younger members of staff to gain valuable experience. It will help their career progression.

  • Retention

It’s no surprise that so many teachers are considering leaving the progression. However, if you receive a sabbatical after 10 years, it may convince teachers to hold on a little longer.

  • Value

This scheme gives teachers a signal that they are valued by the ‘powers that be in’ education. Teachers often feel that they’re on the receiving end of government decisions, but this proposal is a show that their efforts are appreciated.

Only 50% of teachers think they will still be teaching in 10 years’ time

What about today?

It’s clear that the teachers sabbatical idea is a great idea and should be welcomed. However, what about teachers who haven’t reached the 10-year mark yet? What about teachers who feel like a change in their day-to-day life? What can be done to help them?

This is something we’re working on all the time at Opogo.

Opogo has a deep understanding of the industry and its challenges. Our advanced, personalised, technology and dedicated team members offer the highest quality support to transform the world of education for the better. Through advanced, constantly improving technology and empathetic, expert team members, we are helping educational professionals work smarter.

Opogo is a community platform designed to help schools attract and retain the talent that’s right for them. Our social hub is packed with rich content from our community experts.

By reducing daily admin, simplifying job opportunities, delivering world-class E-Learning, organising social meetups, rewarding engagement, cutting down on complexity, giving greater transparency and better, faster control (i.e. via mobile), we are helping educators do more than work in the sector they love.


About our Community Expert


James Ski

CRO, Opogo

With extensive understanding and passion for education and growing companies.

James is the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of Opogo, driving the success and growth of the Opogo Community Internationally.


Opogo is a community platform designed to help schools attract and retain the talent that’s right for them. Our social hub is packed with rich content from our community experts. And through our ever-evolving Smart Match technology, teachers can be booked for work simply and quickly.

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