Teachers Report Soaring Workload Levels During Pandemic

Created on: 22 Dec 2021 | Last modified: 10 Jan 2022

Scotland’s teachers have faced soaring levels of workload throughout the pandemic, and at a time when they are being offered a significant real-terms cut in their level of pay by COSLA and the Scottish Government.

The EIS conducted an online survey in November, and more than 16,000 teachers across Scotland took part. Amongst the key workload-related findings in the EIS survey are:

  • 88% of teachers indicated that their workload burden has increased during the pandemic.

  • 61% of teachers report that workload levels have increased “significantly” during this period.

  • 80% of Secondary teachers reported significantly increased workload related to SQA qualifications.

  • The vast majority of teachers (93%) work above their contracted hours each week.

  • 45% of full-time teachers work more than 8 extra hours every week – equivalent to over one extra full day of work each week, over and above contractual commitments.

EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “Teachers have continued to face a rising tide of workload throughout the pandemic, for a wide range of reasons. Clearly, changes brought about in response to the pandemic have had an impact on teacher workload with additional tasks requiring to be undertaken on a daily basis to help keep classrooms safe.

"The increased emphasis on digital learning – be that in the classroom or remotely from home – has created challenges for teachers, often associated with a lack of suitable equipment and resources. Teachers are also reporting a significant amount of time dealing with pupil behaviour as many young people continue the struggle to overcome the negative impact of the pandemic on their lives."

Mr Flanagan continued, "The survey also identifies a substantial increase in the workload associated with supporting pupils with Additional Support Needs. 61% of all teachers identified meeting the Additional Support Needs, including the mental health support needs, of pupils as a significant driver of workload increases over the past year – with the figure even higher (66%) within the primary sector.

"This is a vital area of work, but the level of demand is increasing and this is clearly placing additional strain on already hard-worked teachers.”

Mr Flanagan added, “In addition to the challenges of keeping up to date with government Covid safety protocols, which affect all teachers, teachers in Secondary schools face additional difficulties with SQA-related workload.

"The challenges brought about by short-notice changes to the qualifications system have been a major driver in additional workload over the past two years for Secondary teachers. Meaningful reform of the examinations system is now required to ease the workload burden of teachers and students alike."