Teachers to demand maximum 20 hours a week in classroom


Teachers are to demand a new contract limiting them to spending just 20 hours a week in the classroom.

The move was agreed at the National Union of Teachers’ annual conference in Liverpool today as part of a demand for a 35-hour week for the profession.

Delegates said research had shown the average working week for a primary school teacher was 50.2 hours a week – and that of a secondary school teacher 49.9.

“We’re fed up with arriving at 7.45am and we’re there until 6.30pm,” said Richard Rose, a primary school teacher from Cambridgeshire.  “There is no time to think, to eat to talk or even go to the toilet.”

He said the “saddest thing” was a comment from a parent who was a teacher whose son had said he was “fed up with saying ‘daddy, can we do something on Saturday, can we do something on Sunday, can we talk tonight?’ but there is no time for that.”

The proposed new contract sets out a new 35-hour working week made up of 20 hours pupil contact time, five hours for the planning and preparation of lessons, five hours of “non-contact time” – attending meetings – and a further five hours for marking.

It also calls for a strict limit on class sizes with a maximum of just 23 pupils in infant classes for five to seven-year-olds.  At present, there is a legal limit of 30 – but figures show the number of oversized classes is growing.