Teachers claim they work over 55 hours a week

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They have more than three months annual holiday and school hours shorter than the average working day - but teachers say they get a raw deal.

New figures showed teachers are working more than 55 hours a week, but spend just a third of their time in the classroom.

Union bosses described the findings from a Department for Education (DfE) workload survey as astonishing.

The survey reported secondary heads work 63 hours a week on average and primary school teachers work almost 60.

The head of the country’s biggest teaching union warned the situation is unsustainable and called for serious Government action.

The findings were based on the responses of just over 1,000 teachers and head teachers.

The results suggests that a large proportion of a teacher’s time is taken up planning lessons, assessing pupils’ work, dealing with students and parents, helping to run clubs and activities, administration and professional development. The data also shows that teachers are spending time on school work at weekends and in the evenings.

The National Union of Teachers’ general secretary Christine Blower said: “This survey shows an astonishing increase in the hours that teachers are working. No one enters the profession expecting a nine to five job, but working in excess of 55 hours a week and during holidays is entirely unacceptable.

“Many teachers feel totally overwhelmed and it is hardly surprising that two-in-five leave the profession after their first five years in the job and morale is at an all-time low.”

The survey shows secondary heads work the longest hours, 63.3 a week on average, while classroom teachers in academy schools clock up slightly less than others with a weekly average working time of 55.2 hours.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said the often cited claim of teachers enjoying long holidays and clocking off at 3.30pm is a myth.

A DfE spokesman said that they would be looking at the findings and ways to reduce “unnecessary bureaucracy” with teaching unions as part of ongoing talks.

He said: “Teaching has never been more attractive, more popular or more rewarding.

“A record number of top graduates are now applying to become teachers and vacancy rates are at their lowest since 2005.”


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