Teachers put in 11 hours overtime a week


Scotland’s biggest teaching union has called on the government to take urgent action to curb workloads after a survey found staff were working an average of more than 11 hours on top of their formal 35-hour week.

More than 3,500 primary and secondary teachers recorded their working hours for the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) over two weeks. In that spell, the average teacher worked 46.5 hours a week – or an extra third.

Secondary teachers spent 8.5 hours on preparation and correction, 2.7 hours on assessment, 2.5 hours planning and 1.5 hours on curricular development.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “It is clear that the current situation is unsustainable and that urgent steps must be taken by the Scottish government, local authorities and national education bodies to reduce the crippling workload burden that is being placed on Scotland’s teachers. The workload picture is similar for teachers in all sectors and at all grades, and for teachers on full-time contracts or part-time contracts.

“No matter what the individual contractual commitment, the evidence gathered during the fortnight focus demonstrates that high levels of additional working are the norm for Scotland’s teachers.”

Scottish Labour said teachers who were overworked and exhausted would not manage to close the attainment gap between wealthier and more deprived areas.

Education spokesman Iain Gray, a former physics teacher, said the findings were very worrying – and to work the equivalent of more than an extra day per week was unacceptable.

“Every teacher accepts the occasional late night as part of the job but this is above and beyond that. This should concern us all because Scotland will not be able to close the attainment gap with exhausted and overworked teachers.”

Mr Gray blamed the SNP for squeezing education funding in Scotland “harder than the Tories have in England”; breaking promises to cut classroom sizes and reducing the number of teachers by 4,000 since coming to power in 2007.

But a Scottish government spokesman said it was tackling the issue and had identified specific areas where changes needed to be made to ensure “teachers have the freedom they need to carry on delivering our world-class curriculum”. He added: “We are committed to making sure councils have the right number and highest quality of teachers in our schools which is why we have offered councils £51 million, including an additional £10 million over and above last year’s settlements to support teacher numbers.”


Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
Claim Free Subscription