Sunderland teachers work 55-hour weeks – but spend just a third of it in the classroom

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TEACHERS across Wearside are working in excess of 55 hours a week, but spend just a third of their time in the classroom, according to new figures.

The data in the teachers’ workload diary survey 2013, published by the Department of Education, suggests a large proportion of a teacher’s time is taken up with other things such as planning lessons, dealing with parents, administration and helping to run clubs.

It also shows teachers are spending more time on school work at weekends and in the evenings.

The survey of teachers’ hours found on average that primary classroom teachers work 59.3 hours a week.

Those in secondary schools work an average of 55.7 hours, while secondary headteachers work the longest hours, 63.3 a week on average.

Mike MacDonald, northern region secretary of the National Union of Teachers, which covers Sunderland, wants to see something done about the increase in working hours.

He said: “This survey shows an astonishing increase in the hours that teachers are working on Michael Gove’s watch.

“No one enters the profession expecting a 9 to 5 job, but working in excess of 55 hours a week and during holidays is entirely unacceptable.

“The average primary teacher is now working nearly 60 hours per week, secondary heads 63 hours and the average secondary teacher is working nearly 56 hours a week.

“This is simply unsustainable.

“Our children deserve enthusiastic, energetic teachers not overworked and stressed ones.”

Mr MacDonald said the publication of the figures comes before talks open between the Government and teaching unions, and the NUT will be pressing for serious action to address the unsustainable workload.

He said an NUT survey showed 63 per cent of teachers spend more than a fifth of their work time on tasks that do not directly benefit children’s learning.

The union official said: “This cannot be a proper use of teacher time.

“Teachers need to be free to concentrate on their lessons, not spending excessive time compiling evidence that they are doing their job or planning or collecting data to a degree which does not support learning.”

A DfE spokesman said they would be looking at the findings and ways to reduce “unnecessary bureaucracy” with teaching unions as part of ongoing talks.