Speakers from the 2024 Annual Conference

Crisis in education

Unsustainable teacher workload threatens quality of education.


The National Education Union (NEU) NI President Edel McInerney presented alarming survey results at the 2024 annual conference on Friday, May 10, revealing a crisis gripping the education sector.

The teacher workload survey sheds light on the unsustainable workload burdening teachers, posing a significant threat to the quality of education nationwide.

According to the survey preliminary findings, a staggering number of educators are grappling with excessive work demands, leading to burnout and diminished teaching standards with 1 in 5 NEU teachers working 16+ additional hours every week. The findings underscore the urgent need for systemic changes to alleviate the strain on teachers and safeguard the integrity of the education system.

Edel McInerney explained;

"Teachers are facing unprecedented levels of workload, which is not only detrimental to their well-being but also compromises the quality of education they deliver."

"Without intervention, this crisis will continue to escalate, jeopardising the future of our students. A majority of teachers reported working well beyond contractual hours, with many struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

The relentless demands of the profession contribute to high levels of stress and burnout, driving talented educators to reduce their hours, responsibility or out of teaching. Something has got to change."

The NEU called upon education policymakers, school leaders, and stakeholders to take immediate action to address the root causes of unsustainable teacher workload. Strategies must prioritise urgent workload reduction, adequate resources, and support systems to enable educators to thrive and, in turn, ensure the best possible outcomes for students.

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