Fifty-one hours a week: UK teachers working longer than in most other countries

Written by: Emma Lee-Potter | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

Teachers in the UK work longer hours than their peers in most countries around the world, a study has found.

British teachers are working the fourth highest number of hours a week, with only teachers in New Zealand, Singapore and Chile working harder. On average the UK teachers surveyed said they worked almost 51 hours per week.

The findings come from the Global Teacher Status Index for 2018, which quizzed 35,000 people in 35 countries about the status of teachers.

The research, published by the Varkey Foundation, a global education charity, also found that teachers earn around £5,000 less per year than the British public thinks they should be earning.

People estimated that the starting salary of a secondary school teacher is around £29,000 when in fact it is around £24,000.

And respondents thought that teachers should be paid more than they are.

They said a fair wage for a starting secondary school teacher would be almost £31,500.

On the plus side, the status of teachers has risen in the UK compared to other countries.

China, Malaysia and Taiwan hold teachers in the highest public esteem but the UK is in the upper half of the rankings, with British teachers being held in higher regard than teachers in countries like the US, France and Germany.

Speaking about the report, Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, said: “When we conducted the Global Teacher Status Index five years ago we were alarmed by the weight of evidence pointing to the low status of teachers around the world.

“It was this that inspired us to create the Global Teacher Prize, which shines a light on the extraordinary work that teachers do around the world. It’s heartening that since the first Global Teacher Status Index there has been a modest rise in the status of teachers globally.

“But there is still a mountain to climb before teachers everywhere are given the respect they deserve. After all, they’re responsible for shaping the future.”


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