Only half of teachers in Scotland say they feel satisfied with their job, with a third saying they would choose a different career if they could make the choice again, a new research report into the state of the teaching profession published today by the NASUWT-the Teachers’ Union has found.
The research, undertaken by the University of Stirling on behalf of the NASUWT, confirms that the pressures of excessive workload, cuts to pay and funding and attacks on working conditions are impacting on teachers’ morale and ability to provide the highest levels of education to children and young people.
The survey, which attracted nearly 1,400 responses from teachers across Scotland, found clear concerns about excessive workload.
When asked to rate their workload on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, 60% of secondary school teachers and 50% of primary teachers rated their workload as being at nine or above.
Nearly two thirds (63%) of teachers reported they took work home three times or more a week and nearly six in ten (58%) reported they had after school meetings almost every week.
Over half (53%) reported there was a teacher shortage in their subject area at their school, with 83% saying this had impacted on their workload.
Four out of five teachers said that cuts in education spending in Scotland have impacted on their own workload.
Attacks on teachers’ working conditions, specifically changes to the SNCT Handbook, introduced in 2014 and opposed at the time by the NASUWT, are having a significant impact with nearly three quarters (72%) saying the time they spent on administrative and clerical tasks has been affected by the removal of guidance for schools setting out a list of administrative tasks teachers should not be routinely asked to undertake.
Nearly half said that their working hours and workload have been affected by the increased flexibility in teachers’ working time which included an increase in class contact time.
On pay, 65% said the cuts and freezes to public sector pay had significantly impacted on them. Only 5% said it had no or little impact on them.
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:
“These findings echo what our previous research and casework tells us-namely that teachers’ morale and professionalism is being seriously damaged by the failure to value the profession and take tangible and effective action to tackle the excessive workload and cuts to pay which are driving teachers away from the profession.
“The year-on-year decline in teachers’ pay and working conditions since 2010 has spawned a growing teacher recruitment and retention crisis. This will only continue to deepen without urgent action to address uncompetitive pay levels and excessive workload.”
Jane Peckham, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said:
“It is clear from the research that teachers do not feel valued by employers and decision-makers in Scotland and that their morale and job satisfaction is being eroded by the impact of cuts to their pay, working conditions and funding for education.
“Teachers help provide the foundations for future generations of children and young people to achieve and for the country to prosper, but as teaching becomes an increasingly unattractive and unsustainable career for increasing numbers of existing and prospective teachers, this vital work is being put at risk.
“Ministers, employers and schools must take heed and act now.”