A new international survey has revealed that teachers in England work more hours than anywhere else in Europe.
The survey of teachers and school leaders in 48 countries conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) revealed that secondary teachers in England worked 46.9 hours a week on average, the fourth-highest workload of the 48 countries polled.
Only teachers in Kazakhstan, Canada and Japan did more.
According to the survey, primary school teachers’ hours surpassed those of their secondary school counterparts, averaging more than 48 hours per week - the highest workload of the countries polled, with the exception of Japan.
Across other European countries, secondary teachers clocked an average of 37.5 hours each week, with the average for all countries surveyed sitting slightly above that at 38.3 hours per week.
The findings come in spite of a commitment by the UK government to tackle teacher workloads. Ministers launched a “workload challenge” back in 2014, the last time the data was collected, and a teacher workload advisory group led by Dr Becky Allen.
Education secretary Damian Hinds said: “These findings reflect many of the frustrations that I heard from teachers and heads when I first took on the role of education secretary and underlines the importance of the teacher recruitment and retention strategy, that I launched in January of this year.
“We know that too many teachers are having to work too many hours each week on unnecessary tasks, which is why I have taken on a battle to reduce teachers’ workload so that they can focus on spending their time in the classroom doing what they do best – teaching.”
The survey also revealed that in around half of OECD countries, England included, the amount of classroom time spent on actual teaching and learning has decreased.
And while other countries have teachers with an average age of 44, those in England are on average 39 years old, with 18% remaining in the profession after the age of 50 compared with an average of 34% elsewhere.