WATCH: How to protect teachers from parents' emails

Governors raise concerns that emails and WhatsApp messages from parents are one of the biggest problems for teachers

Martin George

Teachers are working longer and longer days because they are having to deal with a deluge of parent emails, school governors have warned

Schools should tell parents that teachers cannot be expected to work “longer and longer and longer days” replying to their emails, a governors’ leader has suggested.

Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governance Association (NGA), also warned that some school leaders were adding to teacher workload by sending emails late at night.

Her comments came after governors raised concerns about teacher wellbeing and workload at the NGA’s summer conference in London on Saturday.

Quick read: Teachers 'electronically tethered' to school by overnight emails

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Opinion: 'WhatsApp? Parents are drowning in school info'

One chair of governors said he and his vice-chair held open drop-in sessions for all members of staff at their school.

Parent emails 'adding to teacher workload'

He said: “What we found out, and what we have acted upon now, is that one of the issues they are facing is parents: parents emailing them directly, the fact that there are WhatsApp messages going up, not that the staff are necessarily seeing them, unfortunately until a parent comes in and says, ‘Have you seen what they’ve written about you on there?'”

He said the school had addressed the issue through “policies”.

Ms Knights told Tes the issue was “really important for the day-to-day and week-to-week life of teachers”.

She said: “Teachers who are in classrooms most of the day cannot then return to their inboxes to find them absolutely jam-packed with emails from parents that they are expected to reply to instantly.

“Parents aren’t necessarily going to realise that unless it is explained to them, so it’s about setting a policy that’s reasonable and making sure that you are engaging with parents, listening to parents, but also explaining to them how actually our teachers cannot be expected to work longer and longer and longer days.”

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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