New research uncovers the truth about UK teachers' workload
Are UK teachers being undercut for overtime? Source: Shutterstock

A teacher’s day never ends at the ring of the school bell.

What many students and parents don’t see is the overtime teachers put into marking work, preparing for upcoming lessons and making the classroom ready for the next day.

Many people argue against the hardship teachers today face by pointing out their long summer holidays and festive breaks. But what they fail to recognise is that during these breaks, they are still writing reports and constructing future lesson plans.

In the UK, teachers also have to face the judgement and scrutiny of the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED). Known for their plainspoken inspection reports, there’s no hiding from this government authority.

So, if the pressure from parents wasn’t already mounting, an extra layer is added by OFSTED.

Are heavy workloads driving teachers out of their profession? Source: Shutterstock

To reveal the truth of overworking staff, The Trades Union Congress (TUC) recently released a report that showed workers in the UK had put in more than £32 billion worth of unpaid overtime last year.

The analysis showed that teachers and education professionals work the most unpaid hours on average each week (12.1 hours).

With 52.5 percent of UK teachers working unpaid overtime, over half are clearly exceeding the number of hours they’re expected to complete.

Going above and beyond expectations, is it fair that these hours are based on goodwill and societal pressures, or should they be paid for their overtime?

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady believes the latter. In her opinion, “It’s not okay for bosses to steal their workers’ time. Lots of us are willing to put in a few extra hours when it’s needed, but too many employers are taking advantage.”

Work Your Proper Hours Day

In a bid to strive against unnecessary hours and make a statement, TUC holds an annual Work Your Proper Hours Day.

That’s why last month, to honour the day, TUC recommended that employees take a proper lunch break and to leave on time. In doing so, they may spark the conversation with colleagues as to why they’re not agreeing to overtime and spread awareness.

Additionally, TUC provides an Unpaid Overtime Calculator to sum up how much money employees are missing out on each year.

Despite running for 15 years so far, the figures of unpaid work are still high in the UK, but awareness is increasing.

UK teachers are at the top of the pyramid of unpaid overtime

The reality is, 735,000 UK teachers are still at the top of the TUC unpaid overtime chart.

Whether they take part in the Work Your Proper Hours Day or not, the statistics are there and the expectations are against them.

Improvements must be made to make change and value the extra work teachers all over the world dedicate to their students’ academic success.

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