Unlike other occupations, teachers are denied paid overtime and often do not have other flexible working opportunities. Dr Patrick Roach asks whether it is time to put a legal limit on our working hours…


With each report of falling teacher training recruitment (DfE, 2022) and plummeting levels of wellbeing (Education Support, 2022), the argument for a contractual limit on teachers’ working hours becomes ever stronger.

There is an abundance of evidence that teachers are undertaking additional responsibilities unpaid, without protection of the limits on directed time, and in the context of an anachronistic and abusive open-ended contract which means that teachers’ workloads and working hours operate without limit.

Our Big Question Survey (NASUWT, 2022), meanwhile, found that workloads had increased for nine out of 10 teachers in the previous year and that in a typical mid-term week, full-time teachers were working 57 hours on average.

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