Increasing workloads taking a toll on Scottish teachers

published 15 June 2017 updated 28 June 2017

A combination of staffing cuts, revised curriculum and major changes to the exam system have led to growing wear and tear on teachers, according to a survey conducted by the Educational Institute of Scotland.

The report, published by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), has found that as teachers begin to breakdown there are signs that pupils’ learning is also poised to suffer. Nine out of ten teachers say that their workloads have increased over the past year, and less than half of those surveyed do not recommend teaching as a career.

The survey was published as standards in Scotland’s schools continue to fall even as Education Secretary John Swinney is preparing further reforms.

“The findings indicate that the pressures on teachers are excessive and growing. A startling 87 per cent of respondents indicated that their workload has increased during the past year – with around a third of all respondents indicating that their workload has increased significantly,” said EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan. “Another major cause for concern, given the teacher recruitment issues across the country, is the fact that fewer than half of those surveyed would currently recommend teaching as a career choice – this is far worse than in our previous survey.”

Flanagan expressed concern with increasing dissatisfaction among the profession, which jumped from 10 to 19 percent, showing that pressure on teachers is “excessive and growing.”

There is also the issue of teacher pay, which has also been falling for over a decade. Flanagan says that salaries are now 16 percent lower in real terms than they were in 2003. If salary levels are not addressed soon the union says that members will take industrial action, with the 2018-2019 being put at risk.