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Scotland’s teachers work some of the longest hours in the developed world

Wednesday September 11th 2019 at 10:32 AM

Scotland’s teachers work some of the longest hours in the developed world, according to new figures.

The annual Education at a Glance report also revealed teachers in Scotland spend the highest percentage of their day in front of a class, with 63%, of any of the 36 member countries in the OECD.

At the start of the 2018 school term there were 140 unfilled teacher vacancies across the North-east, with education experts citing issues with recruitment and retention.

Larry Flanagan is General Secretary of Scotland’s largest teaching union the EIS. He said: “These international comparisons confirm, once again, that Scotland’s teachers work some of the longest hours of any OECD country with a very high percentage of time spent in front of the class.

“In fact, with 63% of their working day spent in front of a class, Scotland’s teachers have the highest teaching commitment of any country covered by the OECD report.

“This extremely high class commitment squeezes the time available for the type of professional dialogue that makes a difference in terms of raising attainment, particularly for pupils disadvantaged by poverty, and of course it is major driver of excessive workload.

“Following our pay campaign success earlier this year, tackling excessive teacher workload is now the focus of our Value Education Value Teachers campaign. A reduction in the class-contact commitment for all teachers would be a vital step in reducing workload to a more manageable level, while protecting the high quality of educational experience for young people in our schools.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “While teaching time in Scotland is above average, contractual working time is lower than the OECD average across all education levels.  

“In addition, we have undertaken a range of actions to reduce teacher workload, acting to clarify and simplify the curriculum framework and to remove unnecessary bureaucracy while creating new opportunities for teachers to develop their careers.

“Our recently agreed teachers’ pay deal – which delivers a  13% rise over three years – provides a shared agenda with employers and teacher unions on addressing workload, additional support for learning and empowering schools for the next two years.”

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