A workload audit: Thirty key questions for your school

The Sec Ed reports that we all know that teachers work well beyond their designated hours, but just how can schools help to adjust the work/life balance for their staff? Drawing on the government’s Workload Survey and expert working groups, Suzanne O’Connell poses 30 self-evaluation questions for senior leaders.

In February 2017, the Teacher Workload Survey 2016 was published. This was the first in the promised series of research into teacher workload to be published by the Department for Education (DfE) every two years.

This online survey provided detailed evidence of the long hours teachers are working and their views about it. It showed that a quarter of all secondary teachers and a third of all primary teachers worked more than 60 hours in the reference week. Other main findings included:

  • The average total, self-reported working hours for all classroom teachers and middle leaders was 54.4 hours.
  • Primary classroom teachers reported 55.5 hours a week and secondary teachers 53.5 hours.
  • Secondary school senior leaders reported longer working hours (62.1) than those in primary schools (59.8).
  • Secondary teachers with less than six years’ experience reported working 17.3 hours per week outside of school hours.

As important as any of the statistics relating to the work actually done, was teachers’ attitudes to it. Ninety three per cent reported in the survey that workload was at least a fairly serious problem in their school and 52 per cent said that it was a very serious problem. Most staff disagreed that they:

  • Can complete their workload in their contracted hours.
  • Have an acceptable workload.
  • Can achieve a good balance between their work and private life.

More than three-quarters of staff were dissatisfied with the number of hours they usually worked.

To read the questions that your headteacher should be asking read more A workload audit: Thirty key questions for your school

Did you fill in the on-line Teacher Workload Survey 2016? Has your head asked any questions or given recommendations from this report? Is marking the most time consuming task you do? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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