Teachers in the UK have workloads of an average 11 hours a day, according to a first of its kind study conducted by the government.
Schools Week reports that the Teacher Workload Survey shows primary school teachers and middle leaders are working 55 hours a week. For secondary school senior leaders, workloads of 62 hours a week are average.
The Survey recorded ‘markedly higher’ findings than the 45.9 hours a week recorded in 2013, by the Teaching and Learning International Survey, which measured secondary teachers’ workloads.
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT union commented:
“Once again, the government’s own data confirms that teachers and headteachers are dealing with unsustainable workload demands on a daily basis, and much of their time is being spent on activities which are either unnecessary or which could be undertaken by staff other than teachers.”
The government say the findings suggest that “some increase in workload has been seen between 2013 and 2016”. The government has stated it will now use the findings to “target our work at the areas of most concern”.
Other sector leaders criticised the government for failing to act on previous warnings about teachers’ average working hours, and the impact it is having on recruitment in education.
Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers commented:
“The Government has failed to heed the warnings of their previous research about what drives workload – accountability, Ofsted inspections, and Government policy change. These things continue to be the major drivers of workload and there is little sign of a government plan to effectively tackle the root causes of the problem.”
The Department for Education responded to the findings saying a new action plan was in place to tackle the issue, which includes encouraging schools to promote flexible working for its staff and better workflow management.
A survey spokesperson said:
“We are right to focus on removing unnecessary workload related to marking, lesson planning and administration of data and we will use the findings to further target our work at the areas of most concern. [However], there is no silver bullet to solve this. We don’t underestimate the challenge, which is why we want to continue to work with the profession to explore new and innovative ways to address it.”