Workload: Primary teaching hours up by more than a third, OECD finds

12th September 2017 at 10:33
Primary teachers' average teaching time rises by 258 hours a year between 2010 and 2015, OECD report shows

Primary teachers in England have seen the amount of time they spend teaching rise by more than a third over five years, according to data released today.

In 2010, primary teachers in England taught for an average of 684 hours a year, but by 2015 that had risen to 942 hours a year, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Education at a Glance report states.

And in secondary schools in England, teachers’ average hours rose from 703 to 817 between 2010 and 2015.

On average, primary school teachers in OECD countries are required to teach for 794 hours a year, and secondary teachers are in class 704 hours a year.

Teaching time exceeds 800 hours in just eight countries analysed by the OECD, including England. The highest teaching load was in Costa Rica, where secondary teachers taught for 1,267 hours a year in 2015. Teaching time, as defined by the study, excluded breaks and preparation time, but included overtime.

In most of the countries analysed, the length of time teachers are required to be available at school is specified – but in 13 countries, including England, how much of this time is allocated for teaching is not specified.

Teachers abroad 'spend less time in class'

Teachers in England employed under the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document are entitled to a minimum of 10 per cent of their timetabled teaching time as planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) time but, in a large number of countries, teachers spend less than half of their working time with their class, according to the OECD report.

In the 24 countries with data for both working time and teaching time, 47 per cent of time was spent teaching, on average, ranging from 34 per cent in Japan to 75 per cent in Colombia.

Earlier this year, the Department for Education published research showing that classroom teachers and middle leaders were working an average 54-hour week, with senior leaders working even longer hours, reporting an average 60-hour working week.

A DfE spokesperson said at the time that it had published a clear action plan setting out the steps taken to help ri tackle workload.

The Education at a Glance report also reveals  that teachers in England saw their pay drop by 12 per cent in real terms between 2005 and 2015, while in other advanced countries pay rose by 6 per cent on average.

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