Workload, Workload. Workload. Ask any teacher what their reason would be for leaving the profession. Research carried out in 2012 by TES website tesconnect.com showed that amongst 1,600 primary and secondary teachers, 55 per cent regularly spend more than 56 hours a week engaged in their work during term time. Even taking into account adjustments for school closure periods when teachers continue to work an average of 13 hours per week, the findings show an annualised average of 48.3 hours per week.
The NEU believes that teachers deserve a new national contract with improved protection against excessive workload. The issue of excessive workload is something that should be addressed at every level of the union.
Whilst continuing to try and effect change at a national level there are of course plenty of improvements which could be brought in at school level in advance of any national changes. Some key campaign steps to help members and Reps achieve positive change in your school around excessive workload are based around securing favourable conditions of service. Provision set within School Teachers Pay and Conditions (STPCD) and Burgundy Book offer some protection from excessive workload.
However, in the new fragmented landscape of Academies, Free schools and Maintained schools, it is very difficult for members to find out what conditions of service are in place when they join a new school or academy.
Norfolk NEU have worked hard to produce and share a Spreadsheet detailing the conditions of service they could expect in that school or academy – 1265hrs, Directed time calendar shared, well-being service etc Favourable provision is documented and presented in a ‘league Table’ We want it to be a race to the top where employers who endorse conditions of service are celebrated. Moreover, academies and schools are asking for their information to be shared, in an attempt to look a more attractive employer.
‘Where to teach’ will make that information more easily accessibleWe
We want schools to value favourable conditions of service so that the experience, day-to-day for a teacher, includes fair workload, a voice, a sense of safety and professional respect. We would consider this the ethical leadership also.
Schools who appear higher placed in the league table will no doubt be providing this experience for teachers.