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New evidence on teachers' working hours in England. An empirical analysis of four datasets

Rebecca Allen (), Asma Benhenda (), John Jerrim () and Sam Sims ()
Additional contact information
Asma Benhenda: Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, University College London
John Jerrim: Department of Social Science, UCL Institute of Education, University College London
Sam Sims: Centre for Education Policy and Equaliising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, University College London

No 20-02, CEPEO Working Paper Series from UCL Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities

Abstract: Surveys have revealed that teachers in England work far longer hours than their international counterparts, causing serious concern amongst both policymakers and the profession. Indeed, consecutive Secretaries of State for Education have now implemented policies aimed at reducing the number of hours teachers spend at work. Despite this, surprisingly little is known about the structure of and changes to teachers' working hours. We address this gap in the evidence base by analysing four different datasets, providing the most comprehensive assessment of teachers' working hours to date. Working hours remain high: a quarter of teachers work more than 60 hours per week during term time, 40% report that they usually work in the evening and around 10% during the weekend. However, contrary to current narratives, we do not find evidence that average working hours have increased. Indeed, we find no notable change in total hours worked over the last twenty years, no notable change in the incidence of work during evenings and weekends over a fifteen year period and no notable change in time spent on specific tasks over the last five years. The results suggests that policy initiatives have so far failed to reduce teachers' working hours and that more radical action may need to be taken in order to fix this problem. The article concludes with a discussion of how official data on working hours could be improved.

Keywords: Teachers; workload; working hours; measurement error (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 36 pages
Date: 2020-01, Revised 2020-01
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https://repec-cepeo.ucl.ac.uk/cepeow/cepeowp20-02.pdf First version, 2020 (application/pdf)

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