EIS to tackle teachers’ workload with Value Education Value Teachers campaign
The issue of excessive teacher workload has long been a challenge in Scottish education.
Despite various initiatives, including a Tackling Bureaucracy strategy agreed by all key players, a major survey of EIS members confirmed that excessive workload is still placing significant strain on teachers in Scotland’s schools.
The findings of the EIS survey, in which more than 12,000 teachers took part, indicated:
- 6 out of 10 full-time teachers work more than 8 hours extra above their contractual working hours each week
- 6 out of 10 part-time teachers work at least five extra hours per week – over half of these work more than eight hours extra
- 1 in 4 teachers say that no time is factored in for assessment-related workload in their school Working Time Agreement
- 6 out of 10 teachers say that only some of their assessment-related workload is factored into their WTA (Working Time Agreement)
- Only 2% of teachers feel that all of their assessment-related workload is factored into their WTA.
These findings underline that Scottish teachers have serious concerns about the excessive workload demands being placed upon them. The concerns are common across all levels of school, at all grades of post and in all parts of the country.
Teachers are working many additional hours over and above their contractual commitments, with serious impact on their family life and on their mental and physical wellbeing.
The EIS has noticed an increase in casework related to the number of teachers suffering mental illness due to work related stress.
Of the survey respondents 60% reported frequently feeling stressed while a further 17% reported feeling stressed all the time.
A number of factors could cause this but among the most prominent identified were unmanageable workload, increased bureaucracy and administrative burdens.
The survey results, together with the debates concerning workload issues that took place at our AGM in June of this year, serve as a stark warning of the need to reduce the excessive workload burden that continues to be placed upon Scotland’s teachers.
If teaching is to be seen as an attractive career for highly qualified graduates, then addressing excessive workload is as important an issue as pay.
The EIS welcomes the recognition of the issue and the commitments to reduce workload that were written into the SNCT agreement on teachers’ pay – and now expect local authorities and the Scottish Government to make quick progress in delivering those commitments.
Having secured a significant pay rise for Scotland’s teachers, the EIS is now focussing their Value Education Value Teachers campaign on workload issues.
Through the SNCT the EIS will be seeking progress on achieving smaller class sizes, and improved pupil teacher ratios, and a reduction in class contact time to allow teachers adequate hours to complete administrative tasks and lesson planning.
And through the school empowerment agenda, will be seeking to catalyse professional voice and agency so that teachers can take more control over their professional lives, including workload.
Moving into the new session, therefore, the EIS is committed to the belief that it is Time to Tackle Workload.
Words by EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan.