STRESSED out teachers in Fife have highlighted unmanageable workloads, lack of communication and increased violence in the classroom as issues that must be addressed.

A Staffwise survey filled in by 4,901 employees across the whole of the council's education and children's services showed a "generally improving picture", with improved ratings in nine of the 11 areas compared to 2019, but the scores in the secondary sector were much lower.

Of those working in high schools just 55 per cent agreed that the demands made of them were manageable, 49 per cent said change was managed well and only 55 per cent said there was effective communication within their school.

Dunfermline councillor Aude Boubaker-Calder said that "staff are clearly unhappy with their working conditions".

She added: “This is extremely worrying as this is presumably going to have an impact on both the mental health of teachers as well as the education of pupils."

Work-related stress can have a significant impact on wellbeing and the Staffwise survey looks at issues such as workload, how much say staff have in their work, what support they have, how change is managed and what help is available to avoid conflict and deal with unacceptable behaviour.

It was undertaken in February, it had been delayed by the pandemic, and the response rate was 57 per cent – in 2019 it was 74 per cent.

Asked to identify areas for improvement, staff highlighted "increasing and, at times, unmanageable workloads", communication at all levels, a "feeling of being disconnected from those outwith the employee’s immediate team" and "increasing incidents of pupil violence and aggression against members of staff".

A report to the education scrutiny committee added: "All of these areas are reported to have a detrimental impact on staff wellbeing."

Cllr Colin Davidson said that 57 per cent was "a very poor response" and added: "We've suggested in the past it's because staff feel there's no point taking part in them and we need to reflect on that.

"Some of these stats keep coming up, especially in the secondary sector to do with demands, change and lack of communication.

"If I went back to every one of these surveys down the years I would find the same things and it's basically the staff saying no-one is listening to us."

Cllr Linda Erskine said: "Yes, there are some positives, absolutely, but we have to focus on the negatives to make the improvements that are required."

She said elected members needed to hear directly from members of staff – and not "handpicked headteachers" – to get a real understanding of the issues they face in the classroom.

Cllr Erskine added: "If this was a report card it would say must do better. We need to support our staff.

"They've been through a very difficult period and have done a really good job supporting our young learners through Covid and lockdown and I think they deserve better."

The report also included the findings of a separate Heartbeat survey, involving all council staff, which was completed by 1,987 employees.

It showed that just 49 per cent would recommend the council as a great place to work, 51 per cent didn't feel involved in decision related to their job and only 36 per cent understood the local authority's plans for the future.

Murray McBain, policy co-ordinator for education and children’s services, said they were committed to listening to all staff and to act and respond to their concerns through "positive change" and improvements.