Workload demands force Scots teachers to work six days a week

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More than half of full-time teachers are working at least an extra day more each week than their contracted hours, because of the extent of their workload.

A survey by the Educational Institute of Scotland found that 57.5 per cent of teachers reported working an extra eight hours or more every week, which was having a negative impact on their families and their health.

A teacher helps pupils in a lesson

A teacher helps pupils in a lesson

The figures were released by the teaching union ahead of its annual general meeting in Perth today with the stress of workload expected to feature heavily in debates.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “Teachers across Scotland have serious concerns about the excessive workload demands that are being placed upon them.

“These concerns are common across all levels of school, at all grades of post and in all parts of the country. Teachers are working many additional hours over and above their contractual commitments, with serious impact on their family life and on their mental and physical wellbeing.”

More than 12,000 teachers took part in the survey, which also found that 63.8 per cent of part-time teachers work at least five extra hours a week. Another 57 per cent of teachers said there was not enough time built into current working hours to take acount of the work required for assessments - with 23 per cent reporting no time at all factored in for this work.

Mr Flanagan said the EIS welcomed commitments to reduce workload written into the new agreement with the government on teachers’ pay - which recently saw them win a 13 per cent pay increase, staggered over three years.

But he said the results of the recent survey served “as a stark warning of the need to lighten the excessive workload burden”.

Liberal Democrat education spokesman Tavish Scott said it was “no surprise” so many teachers were working extra hours. He said: “Teachers routinely go well over and above what is required, but that doesn’t make this situation right and it shouldn’t simply be accepted.”

The conference will see teachers discuss demands to reduce classroom time to as low as 17.5 hours a week which would allow staff to spend more time marking and preparing for lessons within the working day, reducing the amount of time they spend doing this at home in the evenings and at weekends. Another motion also proposes that the EIS should campaign to reduce class sizes to a maximum of 20.

The Scottish Government has said that the recent agreement with the EIS would see it “work collaboratively to tackle critical issues facing the profession including workload and teacher empowerment” and that a “range of actions” would “reduce teacher workload”.