EIS survey highlights growing workload pressure on teachers

A new survey has confirmed that workload pressures on teachers are growing, with implications for morale in schools and on the learning environment for pupils across Scotland.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest union for teachers and lecturers, issued a workload survey to a representative sample of its members across Scotland.

The results indicate that cuts to staffing, coupled with significant curricular change and reforms to assessment and qualifications, are now pushing teachers to breaking point.

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Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “The results of this follow-up survey on teacher workload, which have been reported to the EIS Executive Committee at its meeting today, make for worrying reading. The findings indicate that the pressures on teachers are excessive and growing. A startling 86% of respondents indicated that their workload has increased during the past year – with around a third of all respondents indicating that their workload has increased significantly. Another major cause for concern, given the teacher recruitment issues across the country, is the fact that fewer than half of those surveyed would currently recommend a teaching as a career choice – this is far worse than in our previous survey.”

Mr Flanagan continued: “Levels of workload satisfaction are also down, compared to the last survey undertaken by the EIS, with 19% of respondents stating they were ‘not at all satisfied’ with their current workload compared to 10% in the previous survey. Unsurprisingly, the things that brought the greatest satisfaction were the personal achievements of both teachers themselves and achievements of pupils. Areas where levels of satisfaction were low included curricular change, workload, working hours and levels of pay.”

Mr Flanagan added: “The results of this survey highlight that teachers increasingly feel overworked, underpaid and underappreciated. Declining staff numbers, coupled with significant curricular and assessment changes, have led to substantial workload burdens being placed on staff. Teacher pay has been declining, in real terms, for over a decade and is now around 16% less than it was in 2003 when compared to RPI figures. These findings should issue a stark warning to local authorities and the Scottish Government that more action is needed to reduce workload and, equally Important, the issue of declining levels of pay must be addressed urgently if we are to avoid a major recruitment crisis in the teaching profession throughout Scotland.”