Today, teacher workload is at an all-time high. The volume of burdensome and unnecessary tasks has reached unprecedented levels, while important aspects such as planning, marking and data management have become all-consuming, leading many teachers to burnout. A recent survey by the National Education Union reported 84% of teachers felt that their workload was manageable only ‘sometimes’ or ‘never’.1 But this is just the tip of the iceberg and there is a glut of teacher statistics that paint the picture of the current crisis with crystal clarity:
- 80% – The number of teachers seriously considering leaving the profession due to unmanageable workload levels.1
- 16 hours – The average number of hours spent working at home to keep pace with the demands of their jobs.1
- 60% – Teachers surveyed that are working in schools where there is no plan or measures in place to reduce workload.1
- 10,800 – The current shortfall in teachers across secondary schools, representing 4.9% of the workforce.2
- 63% – Senior leaders polled for which teacher recruitment and retention challenges have had a negative impact on their curriculum over the past two years.3
It is widely accepted that people are the lifeblood of an organisation, which is why no customer would typically choose to do business with a team that is disaffected and constantly stressed. The relationship between schools, parents and children is no different.
“I’m drowning and it makes me hate my job.” Teacher, NEU Teacher Workload Survey – 2018
Without energised and motivated teachers who feel empowered and able to do what they do best, the wider teaching and learning challenges outlined in this publication have little chance of succeeding. It is our strong belief that reducing teacher workload, and arresting the erosion of their quality of life outside school, is the number one priority in education today. While this barrier remains, the learning experience and future potential of young people will be hindered indefinitely.
Later, we explore some of the key themes and strategies that are producing tangible results in helping reduce workload and improve teacher well-being in classrooms today.
- National Education Union Teacher Workload Survey, March 2018
- ‘Retaining and developing the teaching workforce’ – House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts, January 2018
- ‘State of Education Survey 2017’ – The Key & Ipsos
- ‘Education Indicators in Focus – 2012/04 (April)’ – OECD
- ‘Provisional GCSE and equivalent results in England, 2017 and 2018’ – DfE / National Statistics
- Skills for Life 2011; PIAAC 2014; National Numeracy YouGov Survey 2014
- ‘Why is numeracy important?’ – National Numeracy website (January 2019)
- ‘Artificial Intelligence: 10 Things To Know’ – InformationWeek, November 2015
- Full details on this research at: https://sparx.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Sparx-Case-Study-all_v2.pdf