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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,


MrsHerculePoirot Tue 09-Apr-13 08:04:39

Hmmmm I don't know. I think that planning and then teaching are the most important things in my job - they are the things that make the most difference to the learning and enjoyment of my pupils. I think I could fairly easily cut out most marking of books entirely in my subject (maths) with very little effect on pupil progress. I can give them the answers (and often do to check themselves), I can look at method and overall setting out etc mostly in lessons and mark thoroughly half termly tests.

I find having dropped responsibility after mat leave that my teaching and lessons improved enormously when I had nothing to concentrate on except my subject again for the most part. I tend to plan with a colleague and we spend a fair bit of time talking through each topic and how we will structure it, we talk about how they learn it, what order does t need to be done in, what links to other topics, what misconceptions how we are going to tackle these etc.. We share all the resources we have and then we create out lessons and generally share again before teaching them. Interestingly our two year 7 classes have an average of about 10% higher in every single test this year which I don't think is coincidence.

I don't think it should take forever and of course I
Do reuse resources but I do not think it is right to spend two minutes per lesson .

ravenAK Mon 08-Apr-13 23:31:48

I actually think planning should take nearer an hour than a weekend for a week's lessons, fwiw.

I'm certainly not convinced that the reason that most of us take a tiny bit longer than 60 minutes/week is due to inefficiency, but the ratio of 'planning I actually need to do to teach effectively' to 'things I have to do to evidence that planning for scrutiny by a third party' is definitely lower than it should be.

BranchingOut Mon 08-Apr-13 23:02:06

Although, polly's example does raise an interesting question - how long should planning take, in a better world, in order to leave space for all the rest of the job?

PollyEthelEileen Mon 08-Apr-13 19:23:10

I am not being arrogant or boastful - just saying what it's like for me.

There's enough boasting on this thread without my joining in grin

exoticfruits Mon 08-Apr-13 19:07:26

Me too, orangesandlemons.

orangeandlemons Mon 08-Apr-13 18:57:52

Wish I could plan a weeks worth of lessons in an hour.....

EvilTwins Mon 08-Apr-13 18:25:43

Polly, you're coming across as an arrogant twit. Anyone who can plan a whole week of lessons in an hour is not doing it properly and should be embarrassed, not boastful.

BranchingOut Mon 08-Apr-13 16:56:06

Polly, I dont think your situation is representative of the vast majority of teachers.

It has been a long time since anything other than detailed written planning was acceptable in primary schools.

PollyEthelEileen Mon 08-Apr-13 15:39:33

Ha! I am the iPad queen in my school!

TryingtobelessChunkyChick Mon 08-Apr-13 15:32:57

I can't plan my lessons in an hr, as a part time teacher, even with previously saved ppts and other resources. It takes me at least 2mins to read through the previous lesson LP and ppt. Changing the LOs to suit my class adds another minute, altering the order of activity to suit my students adds another 1 at least, then consider setting h/w etc etc.

Might I suggest that by not considering "gimmicky" resources Polly you are not planning lessons of a good or outstanding nature, because part of those requires making us of 'new technology' and in our school, that means being up-to-date with iPad apps that might be relevant or getting students to use a bit of software on their laptops, neither of which were possible 3yrs ago, let alone 10yrs ago? For me, even as a technophile, that would take longer than 6mins per class per wk. We also avoid worksheets & textbook work now too...

MrsHerculePoirot Mon 08-Apr-13 09:37:32

I imagine have much smaller classes helps too. Is your independent school selective as that too makes a massive difference.

I can't plan in an hour for the lessons I teach. If I was full time this would be 25 lessons a week - 2 mins per lesson really?!?! All my resources over the 10 years I have taught are now electronic but every year my classes are different - different students, different abilities, different sizes, different strengths, different weaknesses, different SEN, different ways of learning. I therefore spend time planning all my lessons, many of the resources themselves I can tweak, but I am always looking to improve on last year and make my lessons as good as possible
For my classes this year. In my opinion this is the lost important part of my job and often the most enjoyable - sharing resources with colleagues and talking about how we might teach them. Maybe it is the nature of the subject.

PollyEthelEileen Mon 08-Apr-13 08:48:00

I can differentiate in my head. The only time I write down differentiation is when I am being observed. It still doesn't take long to do this.

I update resources when I write my schemes of work.

I don't need a lot of gimmicky resources, tbh.

BoffinMum Mon 08-Apr-13 08:28:29

Polly, may I tentatively suggest, with the greatest respect, that if you are planning a whole week in an hour, you are not keeping up with the research base for your professional activities, nor are you comparing your work sufficiently to that of peers outside your school, nor are you refreshing your resources adequately, nor planning differentiation sufficiently. I would advise revisiting your professional practice.

Tasmania Mon 08-Apr-13 00:17:50

Please don't let this be like the GP contract fiasco of 2004 where it resulted in them being paid more for less work...

Arisbottle Sun 07-Apr-13 22:07:43

I am quick but I couldn't plan a week's lessons in an hour, you will have to offer inset Polly. For a standard teacher on 22 lessons that is less than 3 minutes a lesson.

Solopower1 Sun 07-Apr-13 20:13:14

Well, I can't do any of that.

Luckily I have a good manager who doesn't make me feel inadequate or inefficient.

Just saying.

PollyEthelEileen Sun 07-Apr-13 19:53:47

Planning precedes a lesson, marking follows it.

To me, planning is sorting out my resources, and I can easily do a whole week in an hour. The rest is in my head. As an experienced teacher, I can recall delivering the same lesson, so only need to adapt what I have done previously to current students, or eliminate the bits that weren't so great.

Solopower1 Sun 07-Apr-13 18:14:25

It's clear that teachers' workloads vary enormously, probably depending on what subject you teach or whether you are primary or secondary or HE. (Polly preparing for the whole week in one hour !!) Not sure a teacher of Modern Languages could prepare one 40-minute lesson in less than an hour, especially if there's marking involved. I certainly couldn't mark one child's work in one minute as someone else does, especially when you have to look at every word!

BoffinMum Sun 07-Apr-13 10:00:10

I think it's hard for people to understand how unpredicatable and messy life in school can be. Yes, you can do a bit of planning but you may have to throw half of that out of the window if the children appear to need something different when you get there.

Compared to university life it's a lot more challenging. Now I can spend, say, 2 days preparing a one hour lecture. It has to be prepared to a very high standard, but once it is done, it is done, and I can probably reuse it with only the most minor tweaks. And I won't have to parent the students while I try to deliver it.

sashh Sat 06-Apr-13 09:16:33

If they're not able to do it in that time then they work later/make up the time at weekends etc as those of us in other professions do.

Of course you cannot plan 5 hours teaching in 2 hours.

And when do you fit in the talking to parents, or even e-mailing them. Planning assemblies/school trips etc?

When do you have that sit down with the pregnant teenager and tell them that yes they can do their GCSEs, their life is not over.

Or when do you help the 16 year old fill in forms for a council flat because new step father has kicked them out?

What about a 7 year old who has broken a bone playing, do you want someone to go with him/her to A and E?

What about child protection when you hear a 16 year old boasting about his sex life with a 14 year old?

It's not just about teaching and planning, there is so much in teaching that is not about teaching and that totally takes over your time for, maybe a few hours, maybe a day.

I know there have been loads of Philpott posts, but who do you think has been drying the eyes of those children's friends? Who has been explaining to the classes what happened and reassuring the other children are not going to die the same way.

It's the kind of thing your training /experience does not prepare you for, either as a teacher or a parent.

KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 05-Apr-13 19:57:46

Hello again

We've got another guest blog which might be of interest - this time from London's Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture, who says that teacher's unions are still in thrall to a 'leftist' academic agenda.

aJumpedUpPantryBoy Fri 05-Apr-13 15:45:08

But the majority of people think that teachers get 13 weeks holiday pay which isn't the case

ivykaty44 Fri 05-Apr-13 15:11:10

There would be no need to give bank holidays in lieu if you don't get holidays - you were already off work so didn't miss out unless you get holiday pay and then the time needs to be given to fall in line with every other worker being entitled to 29 days in 2011

Teachers who resign and do not, therefore, return at the end of their maternity leave period may, in some cases, be entitled to additional payment in lieu of their accrued annual leave entitlement.

This is from para 4.9 there would be no need to do this if teachers don't get holiday pay.

It seems (paragraph 4.9) to suggest that teachers get 28 days holiday pay, which is the legal requirement

forheavenssakes Fri 05-Apr-13 12:01:17

exactly Polly!

PollyEthelEileen Fri 05-Apr-13 11:47:06

Teachers get an annual salary.

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