Five hours have been cut from the average teacher’s weekly workload over the past three years, according to the latest Teacher Workload Survey.

Published by the Department for Education (DfE), the second edition of the survey shows that teachers and mid-level leaders reported working an average of 49.5 hours per week in 2019, compared to 54.4 hours reported in 2016.

The fall of 4.9 hours is attributed to less time being spent on marking, planning and non-teaching tasks.

Based on a survey of over 7000 teachers, mid-level staff and senior leaders, the research also shows that headteachers and senior leaders have seen a “significant” cut in their weekly workload, which dropped to an average of 55.1 hours this year compared to the 60.54 hours reported in 2016 (down 5.4 hours per week).

This year saw 21% of primary and 37% of secondary respondents report that their workload was “a very serious problem”. That, notes the DfE, represents a significant reduction from the 49% and 56% reported in 2016.

The report does, however, reveal that more respondents now see workload as a “fairly serious problem” compared to three years ago, with 52% of primary and 50% of secondary respondents identifying it as such, compared to 42% and 39% in the previous survey.

Worryingly, a significant majority of those surveyed revealed not only that they cannot complete their workload within their contracted hours, but also that they do not have an acceptable workload and do not achieve a good work-life balance.

Just 2% of primary teachers and middle leaders agreed with the statement "Overall, I achieve a good balance between my work life and my private life".

While 14% tended to agree, 36% tended to disagree and 38% disagreed strongly with the statement.

However, the total of 74% in those latter two categories represents a more positive picture than the 2016 survey found, when a total of 84% fell into those categories.

An overview of the survey findings is available here.

Last reviewed 8 November 2019