Teachers in England work longer hours than the rest of the world - but not in the classroom

 

Education Editor

Teachers in England work longer hours than the rest of the world but spend less time in the classroom than in other countries, says a major international study.

They work on average 46 hours a week, but only 20 of them are spent in the classroom, according to the latest TALIS (Teacher And Learning International Survey) published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The findings, which compare statistics from 34 countries worldwide, sparked fury from teachers’ leaders who claimed their members were being worn down by bureaucracy.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “A few straightforward facts stand out. Teachers in England work harder than teachers in other countries. They are also asked to more administration, despite four years of a Government pledged to reducing bureaucracy.

“The all-pervasive effects of high-stakes accountability can be felt here. Ironically, given the importance of teacher quality, our system may be limiting standards rather than raising them. It is certainly the case that a large number of head teachers see Government policy as part of the problem not part of the solution.”

The figures show that English teachers work around nine hours a week more than the average for the rest of the world, but when it comes to time spent in the classroom they spend only one hour a week more than the average and less than some nations.

An analysis of the findings by London University’s Institute of Education, said: “The study confirms working hours for teachers in England are amongst the highest at 46 hours a week, and nine hours more than the average. Only teachers in Alberta, Singapore and Japan work longer.

“Yet, despite having greater numbers of teaching assistants and administrative staff, teachers in England spend only 20 hours of their long working week on face-to-face teaching time, which is close to the national average.”

The Department for Education insisted it had given schools more freedom through its free schools and academies programme to run their own affairs.

“We are taking power away from politicians and bureaucrats and handing it to teachers,” said a spokesperson. “After all, they’re the ones who know their pupils best and they should be trusted to get on with the job, free from interference.”

Ian Bauckham, president of the Association of School and College Leaders, pointed out that the data related to 2012, only two years after the Coalition Government took office.

However, Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “It is clear from the survey that although teachers love their profession, the workload is unmanageable, accountability systems add unnecessary pressure and they are underpaid for the work they do.”

The report also found that 21 per cent of teachers in England said they had to wait quite a long time at the beginning of the lesson for their pupils to settle down.

However, the Institute of Education’s analysis concluded: “With over a fifth of teachers agreeing or strongly agreeing that there was a lot of disruptive noise in the lesson and 28 per cent saying that they lose much time due to student interruptions, it is clear that classroom climate was far from ideal in a substantial minority of the lessons surveyed.”

The survey also showed classroom climate was often better in independent schools than state schools or academies. In addition, only 35 per cent of teachers in England felt their job was valued by society, though this compared to 31 per cent internationally.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windo...

Guru Careers: Product Training Specialist / Software Trainer

£25 - 32,500K (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Produ...

Recruitment Genius: Unqualified NVQ Assessors - Health, Social Care & Management

£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions