School Climate & Safety

British Teachers Average 60-Hour Work Week, Surpassing U.S.

By Marlena Chertock — March 07, 2014 1 min read
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A survey from the British Department for Education found that primary school teachers in England work almost 60 hours a week. That number surpasses the average hours of American teachers, but both go well outside of a 40-hour work week.

In 2013, British primary school teachers worked 59 hours and 20 minutes a week on average and secondary school teachers worked almost 56 hours a week. The numbers rise with seniority. These numbers are a drastic increase from a previous survey in 2010, which found teachers worked an average of 50 hours a week, but the report said changes in the 2013 survey methodology makes data incomparable with previous years’ surveys.

Data from the national Labour Force Survey also showed that teachers worked more unpaid overtime hours in 2013 than workers in any other profession.

In addition to long hours, teachers also have to complete “unnecessary and bureaucratic tasks,” according to the survey, like form-filling, paperwork, and preparing for classroom visits from superiors. As Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, told The Guardian:

Many teachers feel totally overwhelmed and it is hardly surprising that two in five leave the profession after their first five years in the job, and morale is at an all-time low. This is an issue that should concern everyone.

In America, a 2012 report from Scholastic Inc. and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found that American teachers worked an average of 53 hours per week. The report explains in detail how teachers spend their time during the school day with tables, graphics, and quotes from teachers.

American teachers are required to be at school, on average, for 7 hours and 20 minutes each day. But the report found teachers actually work an average of 10 hours and 40 minutes a day.

Teachers arrive at school before, or stay after the school day ends, for another hour and 42 minutes on average. They spend an extra hour and 35 minutes working at home, in the library, or elsewhere. The 43 percent of teachers who lead extracurricular clubs or athletics also add 90 minutes on average on to their day, the report said.

How many hours a week do you usually clock in?

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.