‘Positive shift' as teacher workload dropped by five hours a week

Teacher’s working hours have fallen by an average of five hours a week compared to 2016, as they spend less time on things other than teaching.

Research published today (11 Oct) has revealed that teachers are working five hours a week less than they were three years ago.

The second Teacher Workload Survey saw over 7,000 teachers, middle leaders and senior leaders report on their average working week.

Teachers and middle leaders reported working 49.5 hours per week in 2019, 4.9 hours lower than the same set of data collected in 2016.

Headteachers and senior leaders felt the same decline, down to 55.1 hours per week in 2019.

The positive results put the reduced workload down to spending less time on painstaking tasks outside the classroom. Things such as marking, planning and other non-teaching responsibilities.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“For too long, teachers have been working too many hours on time-consuming admin tasks that simply don’t add value in the classroom.”

“But the findings in today’s report give me real optimism that, working with the profession, we are making a real difference, driving down the number of hours teachers work on these burdensome and unnecessary tasks.”

“However, I am not complacent, and it’s clear from meeting many teachers across the country that we have more to do.”

Time spent working in personal time has gone down as well, especially for primary school teachers, who reported working an average of 12.5 hours on evenings and weekends – a five-hour drop compared to 2016.

For secondary teachers, the average was 13.1 out-of-school hours, 3.8 hours less than the last survey in 2016.

This is good news for The Department for Education, who want to ensure that teaching remains an attractive profession, and dynamic, talented teachers are inspired to stay in the industry.

The Department is also working to ensure the Recruitment & Retention Strategy is carried out.

Commitments include; updating the school workload reduction toolkit, opportunities for schools to participate in EdTech Innovation Testbed and fully funded support packages for new teachers and mentors.

Headteacher of Charles Dickens Primary School and Nursery, Cassie Buchanan said:

“The survey outcomes are a positive shift in the right direction and reflect the strong commitment and actions by heads and school leaders.”

“At Charles Dickens Primary we no longer give children extensive written feedback. Instead, we spend time identifying what children do not know and planning lessons to address this. We have also reduced data collection so that teachers have more time to adapt lessons for the children in their class and professional learning.”

“I have learnt that change for my teachers will only come when senior leaders take positive steps which engage with the evidence of what works for improving children’s outcomes and learning from schools which are already reducing workload successfully.”


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