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Excessive workload damaging the teaching profession, say NAHT

The Department for Education today (Friday) release a report revealing that teachers work a self-reported 54.4 average hours per week, compared to an international average of just 45.9 (TALIS, 2013). Senior leaders surveyed in England worked an average 60 hours per week.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders union NAHT, said: “93 per cent of the teachers surveyed by the DfE said that workload was a serious issue for them. This shows just how difficult things have become and how much damage is being done. Demoralised and overworked teachers will not be able to teach the high quality lessons we need to raise standards. 

“School leaders welcomed the workload review groups the government set up last year and have promoted their recommendations. However, the government must accept responsibility for its own direct role in teacher workload. Leaflets and posters are insufficient when individual schools can do nothing about the timing or the content of government reforms, or the crippling weight of accountability. Too often teachers are collateral damage in rushed and chaotic reforms.”

James Bowen, director of middle leaders union NAHT Edge, said: “We need to encourage teachers to feel confident in stepping up to leadership in the future. School leadership is a hugely rewarding job that allows teachers the chance to make real change in their communities, raise standards and improve children’s life chances. But, as things stand, just a third of the middle leaders we surveyed last year had any aspiration to become head teachers. That will not give us the number of heads we need. Workload, risk and the culture of blame that surrounds school leadership make for a toxic fog that must be dispelled.”

First published 24 February 2017