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So much to do and so little time to do it in

TOO much work rather than too little pay is the key obstacle to overcoming recruitment difficulties, according to a TES survey of teachers in England and Wales.

Most are satisfied with their jobs and enjoy comfortable living standards, especially outside London.

In findings likely to be echoed in Scotland, teachers say they work longer hours and feel under more pressure than a year ago. Only six out of 10 expect to be still teaching in five years' time. Of those expecting to quit, 42 per cent are due to retire but 40 per cent cite heavy workload as their main reason.

The poll of 500 state and independent school staff south of the border, conducted by FDS International earlier this month, also suggests that more people could be attracted into the profession by accentuating the positive.

Teachers in most parts of the country lead enviable lives by most standards. Eight out of 10 feel "comfortably off" (74 per cent) and 7 per cent "well off". Nine out of 10 own their own homes and most take less than 20 minutes to travel to work (mainly in their own, quite new, cars.) Nine out of 10 own their own home. Most of those over the age of 40 live in detached houses mostly with five or more bedrooms.

Eighty-two per cent take at least one holiday a year and nearly a quarter take two. Of those who take holidays, the majority take at least a two-weeks break, mostly to other parts of Europe.

Although teachers want a lighter workload, they emphatically do not want classroom assistants taking over in their absence. Four out of five are opposed to the idea.

Nearly a third leave for work before 7.30am and most do not return home before 5 pm, with one in four still at school at 6 pm. Most spend at least an hour on preparation and marking in the evening and nearly a third spend at least two. Four out of five feel under greater pressure than a year ago.

None the less, most teachers are satisfied with their jobs. Nearly half describe themselves as "fairly satisfied" and a further quarter are "very satisfied" (twice as many are "very satisfied" in the independent sector as in the state sector).

There is no difference between the two sectors in standard of living, but feelings of being well off are more pronounced among heads and heads of department than classroom teachers.

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