Workload: Tens of thousands of teachers spend more than 11 hours marking every week

18th April 2016 at 15:21
Two-thirds of UK teachers say the amount of time they spend marking impacts on classroom time with pupils

Many UK teachers are spending the equivalent of more than a working day on marking and assessment every week, a new international study has found.

One in six (17 per cent) of teachers in this country spends more than 11 hours a week marking, the research shows. This places the UK joint second in a table of seven countries, based on the proportion of teachers who spend this amount of time marking.  

More than two thirds (68 per cent) of UK teachers said the amount of time they spent marking impacted negatively on classroom time with pupils, according to Canvas, the virtual learning environment company, which collated results from surveys covering 3,328 primary and secondary teachers in the UK, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Brazil, the US and Australia.

Teachers in the UK said the situation had worsened in the past five years, with 78 per cent citing the need for teachers to continually track the performance of their pupils, 65 per cent pointing to further inspections from Ofsted and 57 per cent highlighting increased benchmarking in schools.

Last month the Department for Education published the findings of its Marking Policy Review Group, which found that providing written feedback on pupils’ work had become “unnecessarily burdensome for teachers” and suggested that school leaders “challenge emerging fads” which lead to excessive marking.

'Less time to teach'

The Trades Union Congress has warned that the number of teachers working more than 48 hours a week has risen by almost a third in the past five years, outstripping other professions.

Samantha Blyth, director of schools at Canvas, said, “There is no doubt that teachers in the UK do a fantastic job of multitasking; juggling marking, reporting and lesson planning, with face-to-face teaching in the classroom. But there is a growing perception that the sheer amount of admin is leaving them unable to do the job they love – to actually teach their students.”


Country Teachers spending 11+ hours on marking and reporting
Denmark 22%
UK 17%
Norway 17%
Sweden 14%
USA 9%
Brazil 9%
Australia 7%

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