Advanced search

National Union of Teachers calls for lesson teaching time to be capped at four hours a day - what do you think?

(426 Posts)
JaneGMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 02-Apr-13 16:04:18


We've been asked by Metro to find out your thoughts on the news that the National Union of Teachers (NUT) has said that teachers should spend no more than 20 hours a week taking classes (four hours a day).

The NUT called for new limits on working hours amid concerns that school staff are facing "totally unsustainable" workloads. In some cases, teachers are left with little time to eat, talk, think or even go to the toilet, the NUT's annual conference in Liverpool heard.

The NUT passed a motion demanding a new working week of 20 hours' teaching time, up to 10 hours of lesson preparation and marking, and five hours of other duties. Other duties include time spent inputting data and at parents' evenings. This marks a drastic reduction in teachers' hours, the conference heard.

NUT Coventry representative Christopher Denson claimed that official figures from 2010 show that a primary classroom teacher works 50.2 hours a week on average, while a secondary school teacher works an average of 49.9 hours. "The same data tells us that four in five teachers have worked all through a night to catch up with work and spend every single term-time Sunday catching up with lessons," Mr Denson said. He added: "It's essential that we act to ensure that what's already NUT policy - a maximum working week of 35 hours - becomes a reality for teachers."

Do you agree with the NUT's position?

If you are a teacher, do Mr Denson's comments resonate with you?

We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Many thanks,


heggiehog Tue 02-Apr-13 17:45:32

I wish the NUT would pick their battles more wisely...

And also that the media/British public would stop trotting out the same old lies and cliches about teachers and education.

ravenAK Tue 02-Apr-13 17:47:15

I agree with your last paragraph, cassell.

But if we teach solidly from 9-3 (actually it's 8.30-3.30 or thereabouts in most schools), then have 2 hours to 'do planning etc', then that means we'd need to plan, prepare & mark on a ratio of approximately one hour to each three hours of teaching.

I could quite easily do this, if I taught exactly the same lessons to each class each year regardless of their ability & previous progress, & didn't actually read the work I'm marking.

Can't see me hitting my performance targets that way, though, & I'm awfully glad my own dc's teachers make a bit more effort!

It's got to be a balance - I could teach five awesome lessons a week, & spend all the rest of the week planning & preparing 'em, or I can teach 30 relatively shit lessons & spend hardly any time planning. The question is where, given finite real world resources, you draw the line - & whilst I agree with the NUT that standards would go up if we restricted contact hours to 20pw, it's not going to be viable in the current climate...

heggiehog Tue 02-Apr-13 17:47:53

Excellent comment ravenAK.

heggiehog Tue 02-Apr-13 17:49:08

Another thing - these calculations never mention the numerous "extra" evening things to do in addition to marking and planning, like weekly whole school and key stage staff meetings, clubs, etc.

InSearchOfPerfection Tue 02-Apr-13 17:50:24

As a parent, I think that's the amount of work out the classroom that needs to be reduced.
I agree about the huge number of hours teachers do. I also know their lessons aren't always well planned because of lack of time. But surely the issue is the fact teachers are expected to do a lot of admin stuff they shouldn't be doing, stuff that doesn't improve pupils results so that's where the focus should've rather than reducing the number if hours teaching (which would mean 2 teachers per class which I think is unsuitable for primary age children * and* the fact that sort if job isn't really suitable for job share anyway).

heggiehog Tue 02-Apr-13 17:54:51

The problem is that in order to eradicate the admin side of things (in most schools), Ofsted and the government need to butt out and trust us to do our jobs. Which they won't do.

So, on we go with the endless tick sheets and tests and assessments and paperwork and admin, and less time for teaching...

InSearchOfPerfection Tue 02-Apr-13 17:55:05

The fact that teachers have some flexibility in their work, ie they can choose when to their work during the hols(!) shouldn't make people forget they have less flexibility in a lot of other areas. Eg they don't chose when to have their hols so they can't easily have some time off to take a child to hospital, have some time off if their child is ill etcetera...

TheNebulousBoojum Tue 02-Apr-13 17:55:53

Ok, I can't link to a useful plan, so I've cut and pasted the planning for a 45 minute maths lesson. Without the LO, SC, resources, and not in the correct format.
Look at the detail required, then multiply that by 25 lessons and add creating resources on top.

Rounding 1 place decimals
Use the bead bar to represent from 0 to 10. Point to the 1st group of 10 beads. What does each bead represent? Hang a blank tag after 1.2. Chn write number on w/bs. Round it to the nearest whole number Show 1.7 and rpt. Write down another number that rounds to 2. Share chn’s w/bs. Discuss 1.5. Rpt with other 1-place decimals.

Show a 100 bead bar. Say that the ends represent 0 & 1. What does each bead represent? What does each group of 10 beads represent? Chn hang tags to show 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, and 0.9. What number comes halfway between 0.2 and 0.3? Hang 0.25 after the 25th bead. What does the 2 in 0.25 represent? And the 5? See how 0.25 is a ¼ of the way along the bar. Write down 2 other numbers between 0.2 and 0.3. Show a counting stick representing 0 to 1. Point to 0.35. What number goes here? And here? (Pointing to 0.75, then 0.49 and 0.51). Now say that the ends represent 2 & 3. Count from 2 to 3 in steps of 0.1. Point to 2.2 and 2.3. Write 3 numbers on your w/bs between 2.3 and 2.4. Which of your numbers are closer to 2.3? And to 2.4? Think of another number that will round to 2.3, and now one which will round to 2.4. Which whole number do all your numbers round to? Point to various places on the stick and ask chn what numbers go there.

Display chart of chn’s long jump results (see resources). Sketch a number line from 3m to 4m with each multiple of 10cm labelled. Help chn to mark the measurements on it. Who jumped the furthest? Chn write the 5 lengths in order. How much further did Sandip jump than Chan? How much further did Ben jump than Chan? Chan than Sophie? Alice said she jumped further than Sophie but not as far as Chan. How far did she jump to the nearest centimetre? 3 chn jumped further than Jack but not as far as Sophie. Write down three possible lengths. What is Ben’s jump to the nearest tenth of a metre? How else can we say this? What is Sophie’s jump to the nearest 10 centimetres? TD
Chn place numbers with 2 decimal places on number lines (see resources). They round each to nearest tenth, then think of their own numbers to place on the line between given tenths.

Chn can: Know what each digit represents in numbers with 2 decimal places and use this to order them and place on a number line.

BackforGood Tue 02-Apr-13 17:57:06

Excellent post RavenAK

TheNebulousBoojum Tue 02-Apr-13 17:57:34

And yes, after decades of teaching, my SLT still expect that level of detail.
Can't just teach it, have to write down everything you intend to say.

heggiehog Tue 02-Apr-13 17:59:15

Our plans have to be more detailed than that TheNebulousBoojum

With individual differentiation explicitly stated for each SEN and EAL child (half the class, basically!).

We also have similar evaluation sheets to complete at the end of every single lesson, even a 15 minute guided reading session.

orangeandlemons Tue 02-Apr-13 18:00:25

Yeah, I have to write stuff down too. Also differentiated criteria for success can take ages to write

TheNebulousBoojum Tue 02-Apr-13 18:04:19

'With individual differentiation explicitly stated for each SEN and EAL child (half the class, basically!).

Yes, that too, and any IDd as G&T. I was just trying to give an example of why planning can take longer than 30 minutes, if anyone can link to a more comprehensive example then go ahead. smile
And the complexities of marking, evaluating and APP.

TheNebulousBoojum Tue 02-Apr-13 18:05:10

I'd rather teach and cut down on paperwork.

heggiehog Tue 02-Apr-13 18:05:40

Fun isn't it?

It takes me ages to differentiate across every mini-group in the class. I think my lessons are split anywhere up to 8 ways, which also means 8 sets of resources and word cards and whatever else we need.

Voodika Tue 02-Apr-13 18:06:47

I'm a teacher and I work part time but spend much more time working than I am paid for.
I think that teachers do need a large chunk if time for PPA but that this should be a positive step. Whilst the class teacher is out I think specialist sports, art and music teachers should be employed so that the children's experience would be enhanced. With this in mind I think the school day should then be longer with teachers having some time each day for PPA rather than one large block when lots go home.

Tortington Tue 02-Apr-13 18:07:40

this thread is boud to be full of teachers. I'd like to preface the majority of what i will say with this - I think teaching is an important profession and is not invested in nearly enough. To much of what teaches have to do ( AFAIK) is in ensuring perfornace measures are being met.

as a parent, not a teacher i want to strip this down.

1) there are too many holidays - and teachers are technically paid for them. the teaching day could be shorter, and teachers could work more days

Plenty of society work damned hard, in damned stressful days and dont get the holidays that teachers do.

2) pressure on teachers comes from performance monitoring, this is so some dick in whitehall can look at stats and make huge policy leaps. Thanks god for teaching unions i say - about the only place where unions have teeth in the workforce anymore. there needs to be an overview at this point.

3) If teachers throughout the country have to spend each day lesson planning a different lesson and cannot re-use this material i would be very surprised. If this was the case, this is a huge waste of resources. There are online teaching resources

I remember going to parents evening and the bell ringing at 6pm and the teacher saying 'that's our bell' and i thought ' what do you want a fucking medal - i work my arse off too and do more evening meetings than you and work every school holiday.

heggiehog Tue 02-Apr-13 18:08:28

Also, (and I'm sure it's the same for you), like most schools we're not allowed to mark by ticking things anymore.

Every single piece of work has to have a comment and a target, to show progression for Ofsted. Even if you only spend 30 seconds quickly scribbling down one comment and target per child, that's 15 minutes of your time gone on 30 books. On ONE lesson's marking. 5 lessons per day.......

heggiehog Tue 02-Apr-13 18:09:12

No, teachers are not paid for holidays.

Eye roll.

EvilTwins Tue 02-Apr-13 18:09:15

Obviously it's different across different subjects and different schools. I teach drama & performing arts so don't have the same marking workload as. Say, an English teacher. On the other hand, my school expects teachers to do half-termly analysis of interim grades. For each class, we have to analyse sub-levels /levels of progress for the whole class and then for various focus groups (eg Free School Meals, SEND, G&T) As a HoD, I then have to do the same analysis for each year group in the dept. it takes approx 45 mins per set of analysis. I teach 12 separate classes and my dept covers all 7 year groups. That's over 14 hours of fairly pointless activity. Other schools don't ask for it... I also,have a massive workload where it comes to writing reports- i don't want to write generic, meaningless reports. It takes time to do it well. Planning also takes me ages, partly because there is no national curriculum for my subject and also GCSE specs are pretty vague (not complaining- I like this!) and partly because new OFSTED framework criteria is very hot on differentiation and independent work. Planning for a GCSE class of 28 which covers A* - E target grades, contains G&T students at one end of the scale and at the other, 4 recent joiners who have missed over half the year and speak hardly any English is going to take more than half an hour to do well.

I say get rid of the data analysis and let me focus on the planning. There is far too much needless paperwork. Cutting my teaching time won't make a difference.

heggiehog Tue 02-Apr-13 18:10:58

"There are online teaching resources"

Yes, because that's how differentiation and formative assessment works isn't it? I suggest you read mine and TheNebulousBoojum 's posts on the planning process to understand why we can't just use magical non-existent online teaching resources.

heggiehog Tue 02-Apr-13 18:12:36

"new OFSTED framework criteria is very hot on differentiation and independent work"

THIS. There are no shortcuts to how we are expected to teach now. It's put up and shut up or Ofsted will rate you inadequate.

orangeandlemons Tue 02-Apr-13 18:13:04

There are hardly any online resources for my subject and non at A level. Also as the government change everything all the time, the average shelf life of a reusable lesson is about 2 or 3 years...and when you deliver a lesson, you always want to refine it or make it better, so this is another process which takes about 3 years, and then they change it all again.

If anyone wants to write all my lessons and prepare all the resources then post them online, I would be more than happy to use them...but they all have to be differentiated differently anyway.

mercibucket Tue 02-Apr-13 18:13:35

I'm glad i dont have to bother with all that paperwork for a lesson plan. pretty pointless if you can hold it all in your head and reduce it to a few key words as memory prompts, yet time consuming for teachers. a very very small example of pointless tasks now done in teaching that were not used previously

EvilTwins Tue 02-Apr-13 18:14:13

Oh yes, online teaching resources. Why didn't I think of that. Hang on, I'll just google "Yr 10 AQA GCSE Performing Arts resources covering A*-E including EAL (Czech) " shall I? It's as easy as that... hmm

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: