According to the media, teachers are facing an unmanageable volume of planning, marking, administrative duties, and non-teaching tasks. The most recent DfE teacher workload survey corroborated this, indicating that teachers are working on average 54.4 hours a week.
This year, Education Secretary Damian Hinds admitted to head teachers at the annual Association of School and College Leaders annual conference that workload was “one of the biggest threats” to teacher recruitment and retention.
So, as part of our annual State of technology in Education 2018/19 report, we asked other educators their opinions on workloads in schools. We wanted to see if our survey respondents felt the same as nationwide reports describe. Here are some of the results:
Under 10% say teacher workload is manageable
According to our report, fewer than 10% of educators believe the workload in their schools is manageable.
What’s more, 62% of our respondents believe teachers’ workloads are contributing towards high levels of stress in schools, but under 20% of schools are actively addressing the problem.
Are you, as a school leader, speaking to your teachers about how they feel about their workload in your school?
Our survey suggests there could be an SLT/teacher communication gap—of the 62% of survey respondents that believe teachers’ workloads are contributing towards high levels of stress in schools, under 14% are school leaders.
Of the total surveyed, nearly a third believe that workloads are having a negative impact on learning. Drilling these results down further, however, our results show that 13% more teachers than heads and deputies hold this opinion.
“We are already losing staff. Workload stress has a direct impact on quality of teaching, with staff having to do administrative tasks while students are working in classrooms. Staff don’t feel they are teaching properly and they are probably correct. The whole system does not contribute to a healthy education system.” Teacher, academy secondary school, West Midlands
Other staff are less aware of workload challenges
Most of our educators agree that the level of workload is generating stress in schools, but there’s a difference in opinion between various staff roles in schools.
“As the budget reduces, class sizes become larger and TA support is reduced, further impacting on workload.” Deputy head teacher, infant school, Cumbria
Whilst over 40% of IT managers, for example, agree that workload is generating high levels of stress, this is almost 20% fewer than the survey total.
What’s more, a greater number of IT managers believe a high workload is all part of the teaching profession; 28% compared to under 20% of the total survey.
So, when addressing the manageability of workloads, there’s a clear difference in opinion between head teachers, teachers and other school staff. Educators are also in disagreement on where the responsibility lies to address it.
Where the reality of the situation lies is still unclear, but our survey results point towards a gap in communication between school departments. To read these stats, and many more, download this year’s State of Technology in Education Report. It’s packed full of candid insights from real teachers, heads and other school staff in the UK and Ireland.