Two-thirds of teachers have sacrificed a night’s sleep in past 3 months to cope with their workload

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Teachers, so often the brunt of jokes about knocking off at 3pm and enjoying long lazy holidays, are actually some of the hardest workers in the country, says a new study published today. Research carried out amongst over 1,600 primary and secondary school teachers shows over half [55%] within the profession regularly spend more than 56 hours a week engaged in their work during term time.

Even after taking into account adjustments for the school holiday periods, when teachers continue to work an average of 13 hours a week, the findings show that teachers work an annualised average of 48.3 hours each week. When compared with other professions, teachers now work more ‘average actual weekly hours’ than all other professionals, with the exception of production managers and directors in mining and energy (49.6 hours)*.

Other hard-working professions are revealed today as*:

3Advertising & PR directors   42.2 hours
4Financial Institution managers & directors 40.9
5  IT Engineers39.0
6=Chief Executive Officers   38.5
8Medical practitioners 38.4
9HR managers & directors38.0
10 Barristers & judges36.0


And whilst those in the corporate world may brag about the number of presentations they give a month, or the time they spend preparing them, most would be amazed at the hours teachers spend preparing their client ‘pitches’ to the classroom. According to the website TES Connect ( which carried out the research, today’s teachers spend 10.4 hours each week planning the 303 different classroom presentations they make every year.

The majority [74%] of teachers now regularly use presentation software such as PowerPoint more traditionally associated with fast-paced commercial settings.

As for work-life balance, the findings paint a worrying picture:

  • 81% believe that the ‘hidden hours’ spent behind the scenes, which go largely unnoticed by pupils and even fellow colleagues, are actually having a damaging effect on their health.
  • Over half [55%] are also worried about the impact on their personal life.
  • More than three-quarters of teachers [78%] say that every Sunday afternoon or evening is dedicated to working on plans they will use in the upcoming week.
  • And over two thirds [70%] say that, in common with high-pressured, handsomely paid bankers or lawyers, they have even sacrificed a night’s sleep in the past three months to get the job done.
  • The study found that nearly half [48%] of teachers spend more time preparing for their classes than they spend in the actual classroom.
  • Nine in ten [90%] say that the demands of the day means they have little or no time between lessons to prepare plan or simply recover from the previous class.
  • Over four in five [88%] agree that that they have 'no breathing space’ during the day to think about their next lesson.

To provide support to the profession and alleviate some of the pressure, TSL Education, publishers of the TES, host TES Connect ( a free to use website where teachers from around the country and across the world share teaching plans, activities, games, ideas and worksheets for free with one another.

More than 60% of all teachers in the UK already use TES Connect and globally, over 2 million teaching professionals from 197 different countries share the website’s content.

Louise Rogers, CEO of TSL Education, says: "It comes as no surprise to us that teachers are amongst the hardest working profession. Every week our teachers spend hundreds of thousand of hours using TES Connect to share and prepare their lessons for the classroom. Our site is busiest on Sunday afternoons – when most other professions are taking a rest, our teachers are busy preparing for the week ahead."

Rogers continues: "TES Connect is also helping to democratise teaching and learning by allowing teachers all over the world to share, teach, rate and review each other’s lesson plans. With over 2 million teachers, from 197 countries sharing more than 400,000 mainly user generated resources, our teaching resources will be downloaded and used more than 120 million times this year. By sharing and using the very best resources in the classroom, we are helping to drive up the standards of education globally."


Craig Barton (30) from Coppull, Lancashire started working as a maths teacher in 2005, but it was during a sabbatical year teaching in Australia in 2007 that he began using the Internet to share his ideas for the classroom with other teachers from around the world.

In the past six years those ideas have been downloaded from the TES Connect almost one and half million times by teachers in 182 different countries – including North Korea! He says: “I get a lot of great feedback from newly qualified teachers from across the world who are looking for ideas and ways to introduce new concepts into the classroom.

“But the feedback that really makes my day comes from more experienced teachers who have taught a topic the same way for years but then are encouraged to take a new approach. I find that really rewarding.

“It makes all the late nights developing class plans really worth while.”


Rachel Hawkes (41) from Caldecote, Cambridgeshire started teaching languages in 1994 and a decade later started sharing her ideas for the classroom with other teachers around the world. Since then her ideas have been downloaded from the TES Connect almost 750,000 times by teachers in 156 different countries. She says: “Sharing resources provides a springboard for other teachers' creativity and can influence the learning outcomes of millions of children. Knowing that is a very positive feeling.”

Notes to editors

Teacher research was carried out by TES Connect amongst 1,619 UK teachers working in primary and secondary education during the period 9-15 May 2012.

*All non-teacher specific data supplied by the Office for National Statistics. Average actual weekly hours by occupation, three months ending December 2011.

TES Connect ( is the largest network of teachers in the world with over

2 million members. It provides a space for teachers to share free learning materials including lesson plans, activities, games, teaching ideas and worksheets. The website currently hosts 400,000 teaching resources and 2.5 million teaching resources are downloaded every week by teachers, which is 3.5 resources downloaded every second.

For more information please contact:

Mark Cooper/Fran Langdon

Van Communications: 020 7079 9222