Solve the recruitment crisis by making teachers work longer, says heads’ union

The TES is reporting that a Scottish teaching union has come up with a radical solution to reduce staffing shortages: make teachers work longer.

An increase in weekly contracted hours from 35 to 37.5, if accompanied by a proportional pay rise of just over 7 per cent, could solve three crises at a stroke, believes Greg Dempster, general secretary of AHDS, which represents primary-school leaders.

He says that Scottish schools are suffering from: a lack of core teachers and supply staff; the knock-on impact on development time for school leaders; and “the fact that no one has had a decent pay rise for years”.

Writing on the AHDS Facebook page, he said: “It seems to me that there is a possibility of tackling all three of these issues in one go – with other benefits too.”

Teachers already tend to work “far longer than their contracted hours”, he said, but his idea is “unlikely to add quite as much to actual hours undertaken” and would boost salaries and pensions.

Teachers who cover non-class contact time – allowing other teachers to prepare lessons and pursue CPD – could be “displaced”, said Mr Dempster. But, he added, that would result in a boost for Scotland’s much-depleted pool of supply teachers, and free up such staff to apply for roles created in some local authorities by the government’s Scottish Attainment Challenge scheme..

But the EIS, Scotland’s largest teaching union, has reacted angrily and described the idea as “incredible”…

More at: Solve the recruitment crisis by making teachers work longer, says heads’ union


Mr Dempster’s core idea is to do away with non-class contact time and increase teachers contracted hours from 35 to 37.5 hours, removing the need to extra staff to cover non-contact time and using the savings to pay teachers more.

Is it a “deeply worrying proposal ” as the EIS suggests or might it be a way of easing the recruitment crisis while paying existing teachers more?

Please give us your reactions and feedback in the comments or via Twitter…

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!


Guest post: School-led teacher training compared to university teacher education
School called in social services after boy wanted to 'fight terrorists'
Categories: Scotland and Teaching.


  1. kazjohnson

    SchoolsImprove hahahahahahahaha rofling all over the place what a useless pointless ‘leadership’ schools have. Sad for our lovely teachers

  2. Won’t help retention.  The extra hours won’t decrease the amount of time teachers spend preparing, marking, data crunching etc – it will increase it by the extra contracted hours.

  3. tiperarycat

    SchoolsImprove Yeah great, and we could build dormitories, on site, to eliminate their unnecessary commute…

  4. sarfsee

    SchoolsImprove kazjohnson Has this guy had an education? Seems to me he was last in the line when common sense was handed out God help us!

  5. TW

    So dumb he should join the Government.

    If it only notionally transfers unpaid hours to paid hours it is merely a pay increase and will not be funded by the current government with its failed austerity agenda.

  6. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Not as silly as it sounds as I reckon it would not actually add that much work on top of what they already do, unpaid

  7. sharpeleven

    SchoolsImprove Yep. If you’re only doing a 70 hour week, the whip needs to be cracked. Get Wilshaw on to it straight away.

  8. MrBlachford

    SchoolsImprove Not a single teacher working full time on a full timetable would propose this. A prelude to a forced contract change?…

  9. MrBlachford

    SchoolsImprove making teachers work more hours ‘because they haven’t had a pay rise’. That’s not a pay rise, that’s longer hours!

  10. sacha_mbe

    SchoolsImprove glad that union doesn’t represent me, the recruitment crisis is due to the move away from teaching & a focus on testing!

Let us know what you think...