After an absence of a number of years, the DfE has once again conducted a diary survey of the workload of around 1,000 teachers. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/285941/DFE-RR316.pdf That’s about 0.2% of the workforce. On average, all the school teachers surveyed reported working over 50 hours during the survey week, primary classroom teachers averaged 59.3 hours per week, slightly longer than the 55.7 hours averaged by secondary classroom teachers, and the 55.2 hours worked by classroom teachers in academies: both primary and secondary school head teachers reporting working more than 60 hours per week. Classroom teachers in most school types reported teaching 19 to 20 hours a week. The exception to this was teachers in special schools who reported teaching 16.8 hours.
Teachers of all types worked around 12 hours a week outside what might be regarded as their normal working week. Head teachers spent around half of this time on school and staff management while classroom teachers spent at least three quarters of it on planning, preparation and assessment (PPA). Time spent on PPA was as common for classroom teachers in primary, secondary and academy schools as teaching at around a third of their total workload. The fact that despite the introduction of non-contact time in the primary sector some years ago teachers still report having to send time outside of the normal working week on these activities shows how intense the job has become.
However, as the dairy recorded a term-time week it would be different in weeks outside of the 190 days when pupils are present. As I have said in the past, teachers are required to work a form of employer directed flexi-time, with part of their so-called long holidays really being compensation for the extra hours worked during term time.
Teachers and heads generally thought the amount of time they spent on unnecessary and unnecessarily bureaucratic tasks had increased over the last 12 months, with 35.8% of head teachers and 44.6% of deputy and classroom teachers surveyed expressing this opinion.
The fact that preparation for Ofsted took time out of the working week for some teachers should be no surprise to anyone. The other big issue was over the data collection necessary for individual pupil tracking. There is clearly some way to go in some schools where the survey group worked to stop this becoming a tiresome burden for classroom teachers. Several years ago I advocated a new grade of data technician for schools to both collect and analyse data on behalf of classroom teachers. Despite handing budgets to schools, there still seems to be a way to go before this type of assistance permeates the sector as a whole.
If a classroom teacher works 60 hours a week for the 40 weeks of term-time then they will clock up 2,400 hours a year before counting any time spent on school work during the rest of the year, such as secondary teachers being present when examination results are handed over, or the five INSET days that are compulsory for all teachers. By contrast, an admin assistant working for 46 weeks a year at 40 hours per week will only work 1,840 hours a year. This means that if a teacher does work 2,500 hours per year, and earns £30,000, then their hourly rate is just £12. Even at 2,000 hours the rate is just £15 per hour.
Expect some hard pay bargaining in schools where this is the case now that national scales have been abolished. Many teachers might well be better off doing regular supply work rather than working at the bottom of the current scale. Indeed, it might be time to reassess the way that teachers’ contracts are established.