Teaching with corona measures meant a higher workload and stress for teachers and school leaders.
Teaching with corona measures meant a higher workload and stress for teachers and school leaders.

Picture: Type tank

Inspection: corona caused higher work pressure and more stress

Teaching with the imposed corona measures worried teachers and school leaders a higher workload and more stress. The well-being of teachers has deteriorated in secondary (special) education, special education and MBO. In older students and pupils motivation, well-being and concentration deteriorated. They feel the effects more than younger students.

Dat concludes the Education Inspectorate in a series fact sheets following a survey conducted this spring across all education sectors. The Inspectorate did this by questioning pupils, students, teaching staff and administrators about the sixteen months – mid-March 2020 to summer 2021 – of education with corona measures.

Ensuring social-emotional development

Across the board, the Inspectorate sees that there are far fewer concerns about knowledge gaps than expected at the start of the pandemic. The focus was also mainly on arithmetic and language, and the Inspectorate notes that this has helped. A point of concern is the social-emotional development of pupils and students. Much less attention was paid to that. Due to the cancellation of internships, backlogs have accumulated and students are missing important skills. But corona also had an impact on social-emotional development among toddlers. The Inspectorate sees that toddlers are lagging behind in this area. 'The RIVM measures had an impact on the interaction between teacher and child', the Inspectorate writes.

Heavy switch

In several education sectors, corona has put a heavy strain on staff. For example, boards in secondary education signal an increase in stress and a decrease in well-being in their teams. Nearly half of school boards are concerned about a significant group of teachers and their well-being. Team members are also 'tired' in special education and secondary special education.

Two-thirds of MBO team leaders say that teachers' well-being has deteriorated

In VSO, almost a third of the respondents indicated that their well-being had deteriorated. In special education this was the case for about a third. In senior secondary vocational education, teaching teams indicate that they have had a difficult time. Two thirds of the team leaders in senior secondary vocational education say that the well-being of teachers has deteriorated. Well-being remained more or less the same in primary education, according to the Inspectorate. They did, however, have to deal with stress and pressure in this sector, and they mainly missed social contact.

Older students

The consequences are greater for older students than for younger students. For example, most MBO teams signaled that their students lacked social contact, had a psychologically difficult time and experienced a lack of motivation. Half of the team leaders saw that there were more students than usual with disadvantages. Vulnerable students in particular were hit harder. Internships that did not take place also have an impact. One fifth of the teacher teams and of the team leaders thought that the quality of the internships was lower than normal. Students acquired less routine and practiced less with work processes.

Motivation did not improve much in higher education. Students had a difficult year, according to the inspectors

Motivation did not improve much in higher education. According to the inspectors, students had a difficult year. A third of the students indicate that they have obtained lower grades. In secondary education, students are also concerned. A quarter of the students is afraid that they will not catch up anymore. A majority indicated that learning was less successful and that they achieved lower scores.


What the inspectorate also sees is that the corona burden was unevenly distributed. Differences between groups of students persisted and there are more concerns about vulnerable students. For example, the impact on social-emotional development is greater for pupils and students with extra support needs.


Teachers, school leaders and administrators do indicate that they are 'proud' of what they have achieved in the corona time. In primary education, for example, they also experienced more appreciation from parents. The corona time meant that education had to work in a different way and that can also be profitable. 'For example, there are calls for smaller classes and for more intensive personal guidance,' the Inspectorate writes. Another advantage was the improved contact with parents and sometimes online was nice because it saved time.

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