Suffolk trainees reflect on first term challenges as union warns of teacher exodus

Two trainee teachers from Suffolk have been talking about the challenges and rewards of their first terms in the classroom - as education unions voice concern about the mounting pressure on young teachers.

The National Education Union says a worsening work-life balance means the recruitment and retention of teachers has now reached 'crisis point'.

Figures show that, for all but a few subjects, more teachers are leaving the profession than joining it.

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A survey conducted by the NEU this year found that 40% of teachers predicted they would give it up within five years.

Almost a fifth expected to leave the profession within two years. When asked why, 62% cited heavy workload as the main reason.

But many say the rewards of teaching still outweigh the stresses.

Sam Taylor is in his first term as a trainee at Whitehouse Community Primary School in Ipswich. He used to be a teaching assistant before completing a Teach First programme.

He doesn't see too much of his own young son during the week as he juggles long hours and stacks of marking but he says he loves life in the classroom.

Annabelle Sherwood is in her first term as a science teacher at Ipswich's Stoke High School.

The 22-year-old from Colchester says she tries to "keep work at work" - that means staying late to mark books.

She says the main challenge has been planning lessons for a range of abilities, with a high proportion of children with special educational needs and with English as an additional language.