Excessive workload is one of the most serious issues facing the education profession.

Teachers in England work an average of 54 hours a week, while school leaders work in excess of 60, according the DfE’s own workload survey. Support staff regularly work beyond their contracted hours. 

Learners deserve to be taught by education professionals who have the time to plan and deliver engaging lessons, the space to meet their own learning needs as well as those of the class, and the energy to enjoy their personal lives, ready to take on the next day.

Excessive workload comes from:

  • continual change to curriculum, assessment and qualifications
  • demands to collect and analyse data in different formats by different agencies
  • excessive planning, monitoring and marking
  • teaching to the test, meaning extra homework and revision classes
  • funding cuts where staff reductions and restructuring mean remaining colleagues pick up the work.

The Department for Education has produced resources to help you manage your workload.

What do we want?

Driving down workload needs change throughout the system.  The Government must do the following if the situation is to change:

  • Plan for change: by giving staff sufficient time to prepare, including releasing resources and materials well in advance.
  • Revise inspection and data collection: to provide meaningful information and hold schools and colleges accountable for issues that matter.
  • End national testing of all pupils in primary and early in secondary schools.
  • Adequately fund schools and colleges to retain staff and pay for external support.
  • Ensure all agencies and all education employers have plans to reduce workload.

What can we do?

The National Education Union aims to help education professionals tackle their workload as well as seeking changes to unnecessary practices that pile on the hours.

  • We will use our larger workplace presence to bring members together to reduce workload.
  • We will provide advice on tackling the common workload  concerns, guidance for leaders on how to reduce their own  and their staff workloads.
  • We will support members to work with their local authorities and with academy chains, to develop and sustain bespoke, and  member-led, solutions.
  • We will put more pressure on Governments to change policy and accountability  regimes that drive workload from the top.

The National Education Union can provide you with advice on tackling common workload concerns and developing workplace campaigns.

#Make1Change with ATL section's workload advice
See the NUT section's steps on how to tackle workload


Use ATL section's work-life tracker to track your work-life balance, your working hours and the major drivers of your workload.