It's official: your workload is heavier

14th September 2012 at 01:00
Report by the OECD confirms teachers in Scotland do more hours than most

Teachers in Scotland have a heavier workload than most others across the world, according to a report published this week by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

They spend 855 hours a year in class, regardless of whether they teach in primary, lower or upper secondary. The OECD averages are 782, 704 and 658 hours respectively.

The teaching load was "significantly heavier" in Scotland than in England, according to Education at a Glance, 2012 - but it had still decreased considerably since 2000 when Scottish teachers worked 893 hours per year.

The study, which looked at 38 countries and was based on 2010 data, said pay in Scotland was relatively good.

Teachers in Scotland earn 95 per cent of the average graduate salary compared with an international average of 82 per cent. Pay increased in real terms by 21 per cent over the decade - the seventh-highest increase among OECD countries; during the same period, teachers' salaries rose by 9 per cent in England.

Scottish primary teachers earn the same as colleagues teaching senior classes in secondary, although in most countries there is a differentiation between the sectors. Scottish primary teachers are ranked 8th out of 28 countries in terms of salaries, while lower and upper secondary teachers came 10th and 11th respectively.

But in terms of class contact time, Scottish primary teachers were ranked 11th highest out of 36 countries; lower and upper secondary teachers came 5th and 4th.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: "The OECD figures indicate that Scottish teachers have a heavier workload in terms of hours worked, in comparison to teachers south of the border and in many other OECD countries. This shows both the dedication of Scotland's teachers - who work many more hours than they are contracted to - and also highlights the workload pressure that teachers have to deal with in the course of their jobs.

"In an environment of budget cuts, falling teacher numbers and rising class sizes, local authorities and the Scottish government must look very closely at this report and consider how they can better support Scotland's teachers and Scotland's education system."

A Scottish government spokesperson said: "The findings back up our view that teachers in Scotland continue to be committed, hard-working professionals and their salaries remain competitive with other countries."


  • England has one of the highest degrees of school autonomy among OECD countries, coming second after the Netherlands in rankings; Scotland comes 13th out of 35 countries.
  • The UK has unusually high levels of "segregation" in terms of poorer and migrant families being clustered in the same schools, rather than being spread across different schools.
  • 41 per cent of 25- to 34-year-olds in the UK achieved a higher level of education than their parents - above the OECD average.

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