This article first appeared in The Teacher magazine, November 2014
In late October the Government announced The Workload Challenge, a consultation exercise with all teachers in England, aimed at reducing unnecessary and unproductive workload.
The announcement follows an NUT survey that was sent to Union members, to help measure the true impact of workload on their lives. While it has long been known that teachers were working for more hours than are good for them, the results made for a shocking, sobering read. It is now clear that the teacher workload crisis is at breaking point.
It took less than a week for over 16,000 teachers to respond to the survey. Tasked with compiling the feedback and cataloguing individual accounts, Union officers were moved by the emotional and often traumatic tales being documented.
One primary school teacher from Bexley told us: “I attended a friend’s retirement party where she apologised to her children for not being there for them growing up. That will not be me apologising to my child for putting others before him.”
While a secondary teacher from Hampshire simply wrote: “I love teaching, but it is breaking me.”
But while the individual accounts made for tough reading, it wasn’t until the survey responses were compiled that the full scope of the workload crisis became clear. Asked whether they had considered leaving the profession due to workload issues, some 90 per cent said they had. Similarly, 87 per cent also said that they know at least one teacher who has left their job in the last two years because of workload.
Find more information and a range of campaigning information from the Union on workload by visiting the national website Workload Campaign section here.