‘Heaviest ever’ workload blamed on exam reforms and accountability
Almost half of teachers expect to spend two weeks or more on school work during the summer break, according to an exclusive YouGov poll for TES.
As schools break up this week, the survey reveals that 44 per cent of teachers will spend at least 10 days – the equivalent of two working weeks, a third of their summer holiday – on school-related work.
And new teachers will give up even more of their break. A third (33 per cent) of those in their first year of teaching expect to work for at least three weeks this summer, compared with 23 per cent of all teachers.
Teaching unions said that the rising summer workload was linked to high-stakes accountability and the introduction of major curriculum reform, especially at secondary schools, where new GCSEs and A levels in 20 subjects will be taught from September.
Pressures ‘cranking up’
Kevin Courtney, general secretary of the NUT teaching union, said: “I think [teachers’ summer workload] is increasing year-on-year as the accountability is cranking up. It has never been as many hours as now.”
He said the heavy workload for new teachers over the summer was “such a poor introduction to the profession”, adding: “It’s no wonder that there are so many that leave the profession so early.”
The YouGov poll of a representative sample of 836 teachers in England and Wales found that women expected to work longer hours this summer than their male counterparts.
Of the female teachers, 46 per cent said that they would work for two weeks or more, compared with 39 per cent of men.
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, added: “Given that we know there are serious issues about teachers’ health, particularly their mental health, the fact that there’s now this intensity during what should be the break to refresh and renew is extremely worrying.”
The Department for Education said it was doing “more than ever to tackle” the workload issue.
This is an edited article from the 22 July edition of TES. Subscribers can read the full article here. This week’s TES magazine is available in all good newsagents. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here