Teacher working hours not linked to retention crisis

Despite finding that 1 in 4 teachers work a 60 hour week and total working hours average 47 hours per week during term time, a report this week has found that working hours have remained relatively stable for the last 20 years.

The report released this week from UCL Institute of Education has shown that teacher hours between 1992 and 2018 have been high relative to other countries but have not significantly fluctuated, remaining between averages of 46 and 48 hours per week.

The report also shows that since 2013 the amount of time split between teaching time and non teaching tasks such as administration, marking and lesson planning had remained unchanged.

This suggests that working hours have little bearing on the current crisis in retention. Earlier this year an NEU members’ survey showed that 40% predicted they will no longer be in education by 2024.

Instead, the report suggests that there needs to be more work done to improve other aspects of the profession, such as pay, leadership and working conditions. However, the report also acknowledged that its focus was only on hours worked, as opposed to overall workload, so did not take into account the stress of unfinished work.

In the most recent data available, the National Audit Office September 2017 report showed that the North East was the region reporting the lowest proportion of schools with vacancies. Whilst this seems to show that retention is less of an issue for the region the report did note that, like the rest of the country, the North East had seen a rise in vacancies since 2010.

A pilot scheme aimed at retaining Maths and Physics teachers began in the North East this year, providing eligible teachers a £2,000 retention payment in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 academic years.

For more on this topic:

TES

Schools Week

The Independent

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