New research shows that one in four teachers are working more than 60 hours a week. Their average term-time working week is 47 hours, rising to 50 hours during the summer term, a report from the UCL Institute of Education has revealed.

Based on data collected between 1992 and 2017 from more than 40,000 primary and secondary teachers in England, the research shows that a quarter of teachers work more than 60 hours per week during term time, with 40% saying that they usually work in the evening and 10% work at weekends.

Full-time secondary teachers spend almost as much time on management, administration, marking and lesson planning each week as they do teaching (20.1 hours compared to 20.5 hours).

The UCL research was funded by the Nuffield Foundation, whose Director of Education, Josh Hillman, said that it confirms that teachers are working persistently long hours – something that has been the case for over two decades, despite a succession of policy announcements from Ministers.

“As previous Nuffield-funded work has shown,” he added, “addressing teachers’ working hours is key to the improvement of both teaching quality and supply.”

The next phase of the project will look at the health of teachers over the past 25 years and will, Mr Hillman predicted, help researchers gain an even better understanding of the teacher workforce.

Compared to teachers in some other industrialised countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), teachers in England worked on average eight hours more a week.

In 2018, the average full-time secondary teacher in England worked 49 hours per week, while the OECD average was 41 hours and the figure for Finland was 34 hours.

Read the full working paper “New evidence on teachers’ working hours in England. An empirical analysis of four datasets” online.

Last reviewed 4 October 2019