10 April 2012
Commenting after the debate on Motion 17, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said;
“Despite the Government’s supposed commitment to ensure that the pressure on teachers to work excessive hours is reduced there is no evidence to show that this is happening. Many classroom teachers, heads and deputies work in excess of 50 hours a week, which inevitably takes its toll not only on home life but also on teachers’ mental health.
“In too many schools planning and assessment requirements have become formulaic burdens that are the bane of teachers’ lives. A recent YouGov survey, commissioned by the NUT, showed that workload is the issue that would most influence teachers’ decisions to leave the profession, with a massive 71% identifying it as a critical issue.
“Too many hours are spent on tasks generated by unnecessary bureaucratic procedures, not on the actual job of teaching children and young people. This is bad for children and bad for the education service.
“Until the high-stakes nature of league tables is removed and teachers are trusted working hours are unlikely to reduce. Add to that pension cuts, pay freezes, continual inspection and criticism from Government at every turn and recruitment into the teaching profession will become increasingly difficult.”