Teachers work 54 hours a week on average and most say workload has increased: survey

Nearly nine in 10 (87%) teachers surveyed said their workload has increased over the past year, according to a survey by the NASUWT teachers’ union.

The survey, of 8,464 NASUWT members across the UK in March, suggests that 83% of teachers believe that their work has negatively affected their mental health in the last 12 months.

The findings were released during the union’s annual conference in Glasgow over Easter weekend.

They suggest that teachers work 54 hours a week on average in an in-between week, including time spent on lesson preparation and pastoral care, and around 13 of these hours were outside of the normal school day.

One teacher who responded to the survey said: “I feel constantly anxious, worried, stressed. I can’t sleep. I never see my family.”

Delegates at the NASUWT conference are due to debate a motion calling on the union to build a campaign to support members in “defying attacks” on their contractual rights over working hours.

In March last year, the Government Schools White Paper called for public schools to deliver at least 32.5 hours a week in a bid to address the “teaching time gap in schools”.

The motion, which will be heard at the teachers’ union conference, suggests that this “is the beginning of extending teaching hours on the sly.”

NASUWT is calling for a contractual and enforceable cap on teachers’ working hours to ensure staff can enjoy a life outside of work.

At the union conference, incoming chairwoman Rosemary Carabine will also say the government is not doing enough to address the shortage of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates entering teaching.

Ms Carabine is to say: “More young people taking Stem subjects at university is good news, especially as Stem subjects have a positive impact on the economy and society.

“Unfortunately, these students do not choose to go into teaching; they can generally afford a higher starting salary in the industry.”

She will tell delegates: “Governments across the UK are not doing enough, fast enough, to tackle these problems. They need to raise wages and improve wage incentives.

“When will they wake up? There is a teacher recruitment and retention crisis. All teachers deserve a competitive salary, regardless of the subject they teach.”

Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said: “We urgently need working conditions that allow teachers to teach. It’s time for a cap on working hours and an end to workplace abuse.

“Urgent reforms are needed to provide clear employment rights and benefits within a national contractual framework of a maximum 35-hour work week.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Education (DfE) said: “We recognize how hard teachers work to transform the lives of children across the country.

“We are listening to teachers on the issues that affect them the most. So as part of our offer to the unions, we committed to forming a joint task force to reduce the workload by five hours per week for each teacher.

“To improve teachers’ access to mental health support, we are also investing £760,000 in a scheme that provides personalized supervision and advice to school leaders, and have launched the education staff wellbeing charter.”


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