‘Clever’ teachers don’t work long hours, says former government adviser

The TES is reporting that teacher training should put the emphasis on workload management, says Sir Andrew Carter, adding that staff who ‘brag’ about long hours are not setting a good example to trainees.

Trainees should be told that working 12 to 13 hours a day is “unreasonable” and schools should “get smart” with planning initiatives said Sir Andrew Carter, chief executive of the South Farnham Educational Trust.

Sir Andrew, who chaired a government-commissioned review of initial teacher training, said he’d heard teachers talk about starting work at 5am, or working until midnight, in front of trainees.

Speaking at the Girls’ School Association (GSA) annual conference, he said: “There are trainees wishing to join our profession listening to these mad people talking about and bragging about work.

“Clever people don’t need to work that long… We pulled children out of the mines once. We must take teachers out of the same mines that we put the children into.

“I just think that sometimes in schools you do have to look very carefully [at workload] because it is the biggest factor – it is bigger than behaviour – of why people leave.

Speaking to TES after his speech, he said schools had a big role to play too: “If a school is expecting teachers to work 12 to 13 hours a day, and in the evenings and at the weekends, that is unreasonable, and they will go. You have got to get smart in your planning.”

More at: ‘Clever’ teachers don’t work long hours, says former government adviser

It seems to be quite common that teachers work incredibly long hours. Is this really necessary? Do any of you work less hours than your colleagues? How can teachers be managing their time better? Let us know your thoughts below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie

For anyone struggling to keep on top of their workload, our book ‘Managing Teacher Workload‘ is an invaluable read. Read an extract here.

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Categories: 1st POST, Leadership and Teaching.


  1. Gwenelope

    kitandrew1 SchoolsImprove Headline is a bit misleading – he also says that schools should not expect teachers to work 12-13hr days.

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove HBharadawa Pretty easy to say from a plush office with no teaching experience. Main: teachers must say “no” occasionally

  3. ballater6

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove HBharadawa think the author of this is coming from OS school in wealthy area-not that I’m judgingU0001f62c

  4. ballater6

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove HBharadawa have these people had exp in SM school where Pressure comes from the world & his wife #just saying

  5. Stevius

    Quality marking and lesson planning takes time. When you look at the practice of high performing schools the staff are working smartly AND also work long hours.

    To change this and to allow teachers to work fewer hours would require significant investment allowing schools to employ more teachers . Perhaps Sir Andrew would like schools to charge parents another £500 per pupil on top of what he suggested earlier this week to facilitate this?

  6. andylutwyche SchoolsImprove HBharadawa Sir Andrew Carter does have teaching experience.  http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/local-news/mastermind-school-success-story-gets-7267348
    That said, what he’s saying about ‘clever’ teachers not working long hours is wrong.

  7. Stevius Or maybe teaching should be organised so it’s recognised that adequate time between, say nine and five, should be allocated to planning and preparation.  Teachers keep being told how wonderful Shanghai teachers are but they have far more class contact time than UK ones.  That’s one Shanghai policy that’s unlikely to be taken up over here, though.

  8. northernteacher

    I’d love him to expand further on this, please tell me how I can reduce the hours I work.  I think I must be thick, it takes me ages to do my job properly.  I wish he’d come to my school to teach me how to be smart!

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