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Teachers will call for an end to excessive working hours and a contractual limit on teachers’ working time at the Annual Conference of the NASUWT-The Teachers Union in Glasgow this weekend.

Longer hours and unstainable workloads are adversely affecting teacher recruitment and retention rates and employee mental health and wellbeing, representatives will say.

New figures published today from the Union’s Big Question survey of nearly 8,500 teachers have found that teachers report working on average 54 hours a week, with an average of 13 of these hours falling outside of the standard school day.

87% of teachers reported an increase in workload over the last year, with 55% of these saying their workload has increased significantly. Administrative and clerical tasks, data and assessment requirements and growing pastoral care demands are some of the main factors reported by teachers in driving up their workloads over the past year.

83% of teachers say their mental health has declined over the last 12 months as a result of their job, with workload far outstripping any other factor as the biggest driver of this decline.

The NASUWT is calling for a contractual, enforceable limit on teachers’ working hours to ensure that every teacher and headteacher can enjoy a life outside work. This can only be achieved by a remodelled teachers’ contract which provides clear working time rights and entitlements, within the framework of a maximum 35 hour working week.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“It is not coincidental that as teachers’ working hours surge, so too do levels of teacher wastage, vacancies, illness and early retirements.

“It’s not acceptable that long and unhealthy working hours are routine across the education sector.

“The selfless dedication of teachers and headteachers is being taken advantage of to the detriment of teachers and pupils.

“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.”


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