Teachers in England work longer hours than most other countries, warns report

A fifth of teachers in England are working 60 hours or more a week leaving them little time to develop their careers, a new report warns. 

The study looked at 36 countries and regions in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states. Fotolia 

A survey by the Education Policy Institute (EPI), found half of full time teachers in the UK work between 40 and 58 hours, and overall a fifth of teachers work 60 hours or more.

Only Japan and Alberta reported longer average working hours than teachers in England.

EPI benchmarked teaching practices and experiences in England’s secondary schools against 35 other developed countries or jurisdictions.

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Commenting on the Education Policy Institute report on Teacher Workload, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said: “This is another Report to add to the already overwhelming mountain of evidence that teachers’ professional lives are blighted by an excessive workload.
“Year-on-year increasing numbers of teachers leave the profession and potential recruits are deterred from joining it because of the toxic combination of increasing workload and decreasing pay.
“The excessive freedoms and flexibilities the Government has given to schools have enabled poor management practices, which overburden and underpay teachers, to flourish.
“Yet Ministers continue to fiddle while teachers burn out and the children and young people they teach lose out.”

Teachers are ‘unlikely” to cut down on workload unless classes are expanded so they have more time to prepare for fewer lessons.

Staff in countries with fewer, larger classes such as China are able to prepare better for lessons and also spend 10 times longer on career development than their English counterparts, the data shows.

Peter Sellen, chief economist for the EPI, said: “Parents want schools with small classroom sizes, but what the evidence shows is this may mean teachers actually have less time to prepare for all of their lessons. 

The data also found that teachers in England who felt well prepared are 20 to 22 per cent less likely to complain of finding their workloads unmanageable than those who do not feel well prepared. 

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said the lack of CPD for teachers was one of the “most worrying” findings in the report.

“This report confirms what teachers tell us – that bureaucracy is overwhelming their working lives, and is crowding out the valuable professional activities they should be doing. Most worrying is the fact that teachers’ professional development is being cut, at a time when there is massive change in the curriculum, its assessment and qualifications.

“Teachers want to do the best they can for their pupils, but they are being held back by ‘busy work’ and a lack of training and development which would enable them to meet the challenge of change which, for many, is overwhelming.”



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