Teachers warn of further strike action after survey shows 90% are over-worked

nut logoby Tim Lezard

Teachers have warned the government they will take further strike action unless their working hours are cut.

A NUT survey released today reveals 90% of teachers had considered giving up teaching during the last two years because of workload, 87% said they know one or more colleagues who had given up during the last two years because of workload and 96.5% said their workload had negative consequences for their family or personal life.

The survey was completed last week by 16,379 teachers.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “This makes for utterly depressing reading and is a clear justification of the NUT’s continuing campaign on teacher workload.

“Anyone concerned about the education of our children will be alarmed at the low levels of morale and exhaustion within the profession. Nicky Morgan needs to address this in her speech today and in her talks with teacher unions tomorrow .

“Teaching is one of the most important jobs in the world but if politicians continue their current approach we will see many more teachers leaving and those who remain will be worn into the ground. Teacher supply expert John Howson has said that it is unlikely that any of the key subjects measured by UCAS will meet their teacher training number targets for this year. This is quite clearly unsustainable and in the long run will be disastrous for children and young people.

“Much of the workload is completely unnecessary and is a result of accountability measures. It is driven from the top by the way politicians and Ofsted run down teachers. Hours spent providing evidence that they are doing their job takes away from the time teachers have for creating exciting and memorable lessons.  Unsustainable demands on for example ‘deep marking’ are not leading to better feedback for students, just to exhausted teachers.

“If we want to maintain a world class education system, of which politicians often speak, we have to start by making teaching an attractive profession as laid out in the NUT Manifesto for Education.

“With a General Election around the corner politicians can no longer keep ignoring the crisis happening in our schools. It is now time for politicians to act. They need to take urgent steps to reform accountability so that it is based on trust, and to take immediate action to reduce working hours.

“Failure to do this could lead to more strike action.”

Some comments from the survey are quoted below:

  ·         ‘I have three young boys who I barely spend time with anymore. Just writing that sentence upset me deeply.’ – primary teacher, Bury

·         ‘I am fed up of seeing my colleagues near to breaking point, and there isn’t a week goes by where I don’t see someone crying. This has to stop.’ – primary teacher, Trafford

·         ‘I love teaching, but hate the system I teach in. I’m a good and well respected teacher, but I can’t keep living like this. The moment I find the right opportunity, I will leave this uncaring, fear driven, life-drain that masquerades as a “profession”.’ – secondary teacher, Suffolk