Staff urged to take the day off from unpaid overtime

27th February 2009 at 00:00

The NUT has called on teachers to go home on time today rather than working their usual long hours.

Acting general secretary Christine Blower, writing in The TES today, says school workers should play an active part in the TUC's Work Your Proper Hours Day.

Ms Blower calls on teachers to use the day to highlight to their bosses and the public that they work extraordinarily long days during term-time. The TUC campaign aims to get employees to stick to their contracted hours for one day.

Ms Blower emphasises figures from the School Teachers' Review Body's workload survey last year, which showed that primary classroom teachers worked an average of 52.2 hours per week, while their colleagues in secondary schools worked almost 50. The standard working week is considered to be between 35 and 37 hours.

"It really is time for the Government to take seriously teachers' working hours," Ms Blower writes. "The hours spent on planning and preparation would feel a lot less like a burden if teachers had professional autonomy over both the curriculum and assessment.

"Because teachers' long working hours may not technically be described as overtime, it does not make excessive working hours any more acceptable. We have probably all heard comments such as 'Teachers work only from 9 till 3.30 and have all those holidays'. Of course, the reality is far from that.

"Work Your Proper Hours Day gives us a focus for the campaign to win a decent work-life balance," she adds. "So, if you're in school today, get to work at a reasonable hour, take a proper lunch, leave promptly and concentrate on life outside work. Focusing on limiting workload today may be the start of seeing what life could be like with a good work-life balance all year round."

Christine Blower, page 42.

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