Relationships '˜hit the rocks' due to head teacher workload

The 'intolerable' workload imposed on Scotland's head teachers is damaging family relationships and leading to a growing number of couples splitting up, the leader of a teaching association has said.

Many teachers reluctant to become head teachers due to stress and workload.
Many teachers reluctant to become head teachers due to stress and workload.

Seamus Searson, general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, (SSTA) said this is becoming a key reason why teaching staff are reluctant to apply for head teacher vacancies.

Mr Searson said many head teachers are responsible for a range of duties previously carried out by local councils such as building maintenance, health and safety, grievance handling, HR, health and safety and discipline as well as traditional managerial duties and plugging teaching gaps.

“We are facing a situation where management jobs are too big and becoming unmanageable. I often hear of couples parting because of the almost 24-hour demands on head teachers. Many staff can see precisely what the role entails and decide it’s just not worth the money.

“There is a very narrow management structure which often means teachers are not developing the management sills to run a school. We often see younger, inexperienced candidates in their late 30s and early 40s going into these enormous jobs, whereas previously teachers achieved that role in their late 40s and early 50s after acting as a principal teacher in their own department.”

Liz Smith, Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife and shadow cabinet secretary for education, said extra duties were deterring many teachers from going for promotion.

“I think there’s a very genuine concern in the profession that any promoted post involving heavy burdens has to be given considerable thought.

“Teachers weigh up the educational benefits to children and ask themselves whether the salary is sufficient.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are committed to reducing teacher and head teacher workload and have undertaken a range of actions to achieve this.”