Teachers work 54 hours a week on average and most say workload has risen – poll

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Teachers work 54 hours a week on average – and around 13 of these hours fall outside of the normal school day, a survey suggests.

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

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

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

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

Delegates at the NASUWT conference are due to debate a motion which calls on the union to build a campaign to support members to “challenge attacks” on their contractual rights on working hours.

In March last year, the Government’s Schools White Paper called for state schools to deliver at least a 32.5 hour week in a bid to address the “discrepancy of teaching time in schools”. 

The motion, which will be heard at the teaching union’s conference, suggests this “is the start of extending teaching hours by stealth”.

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

Ms Carabine is due 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.

“Sadly, these students are not then opting to go into teaching – they are typically able to access a higher starting wage in industry.”

She will tell delegates: “Governments across the UK are not doing enough, quickly enough, to address these problems. They need to boost salaries and improve pay incentives.

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

Patrick Roach, general secretary of NASUWT, said: “We urgently need working conditions that let teachers teach. It’s time for a limit on working hours and an end to abuse at work.

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

A Department for Education (DfE) spokesperson said: “We recognise how hard teachers work to transform children’s lives up and down the country.

“We are listening to teachers about the issues that affect them most. That is why, as part of our offer to the unions, we committed to forming a joint taskforce to reduce workload by five hours per week for every teacher.

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

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